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Published: Monday, 8/22/2011

Tigers beat Tampa Bay

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tiger ace Justin Verlander won his seventh consecutive start Friday and his 19th for the season. Tiger ace Justin Verlander won his seventh consecutive start Friday and his 19th for the season.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Justin Verlander became the first 19-game winner in the majors, Alex Avila hit his 15th homer and the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Monday night.

Verlander (19-5) won his seventh consecutive start, giving up one run and three hits in seven innings. The 19 wins match his career high, set in 2009.

The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the second when Avila hit a two-run shot off Jeff Niemann (8-5). The All-Star catcher is 25 for 59 (.424) with five homers and 14 RBIs this month.

Niemann, who was 7-0 in his 10 previous start, allowed four runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings.

Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton left with a right shoulder strain after running intothe wall on Delmon Young’s eighth-inning double.



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