Kenta Maeda and Justin Verlander engaged in a wonderful pitchers’ duel on Sunday, each taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Both allowed hit(s), and run(s), in the sixth, and the Tigers came out on top with a 6-1 win over the Dodgers at Comerica Park in Detroit.
The loss snapped the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak, their 10th loss in the last 75 days.
Verlander retired his first 13 batters faced before walking Yasiel Puig in the fifth inning, one of only three batters to reach base in eight innings against the Tigers right-hander, who struck out nine.
The Tigers ace is the first pitcher to last eight innings against the Dodgers since Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers on June 2 in Milwaukee. The Dodgers went 53-12 in between those games.
Curtis Granderson broke up Verlander’s no-hitter with two outs in the sixth, lofting a ball down the line and off the right field foul pole for his first hit with the Dodgers. Granderson has seven home runs in 16 games in August.
He is the 18th different Dodgers player to hit a home run in 2017. The club record is 22 players, set in 1958, 2000 and 2001.
Granderson’s home run is the only run allowed by Verlander in his last three home starts.
That 1-0 Dodgers lead was short lived, as Maeda’s string of 18 straight batters retired was broken up with three consecutive hits by the bottom of the Tigers order. A single by John Hicks broke up the perfect game, and was followed by doubles from Andrew Romine and Dixon Machado, the latter driving in two runs to give Detroit its first lead in the series since the first inning on Friday.
With two outs in the sixth, Justin Upton continued his hot hitting, blasting a two-run home run to left field, giving Detroit a three-run advantage. Upton had three home runs and a double in the three-game series.
Maeda is the first Dodgers starting pitcher to get tagged with a loss since July 21. That was 25 games ago.
The Tigers added a pair of insurance runs against reliever Tony Cingrani in the eighth inning to put the game away, the big blow a two-run double by Miguel Cabrera that inexplicably fell between Kiké Hernandez and Puig in right center field.
Despite the four-run, five-hit inning and the loss, Maeda continued his strong trend of late with seven strikeouts and no walks on Sunday, his fourth straight start with at least six strikeouts, the longest such streak of his career.
Maeda had a 22.9-percent strikeout rate through July, but in August has 30.3-percent strikeout rate in four starts, with just three walks in 23⅓ innings.
Best NL interleague records
The Dodgers finished their interleague slate of 2017 with 16 wins in 20 games, tying the major league record for most interleague victories in one season.
Even with the loss, the Dodgers are just the sixth National League team to post an .800 winning percentage or better in interleague play in one season, and the first since the 2004 Cardinals went 11-1 (.917).
The Dodgers outscored their interleague opponents 95-65 in 20 games this season.
The road trip moves on to Pittsburgh, where Alex Wood starts the opener on Monday night, a 4:05 p.m. PT start at PNC Park. The Pirates counter with ace Gerrit Cole.
Home runs: Curtis Granderson (20); Justin Upton (26)
WP - Justin Verlander (9-8): 8 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Kenta Maeda (11-5): 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 7 strikeouts