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Verlander Near Unhittable

Houston — Justin Verlander held Houston hitless until the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers romped past the Astros 9-0 yesterday for a four-game sweep.

Verlander, who has already pitched two no-hitters in his career, made a bid for another one against the overmatched Astros.

Carlos Pena got Houston’s first hit, a single with one out in the seventh over the head of second baseman Omar Infante, who was playing in shallow right with the shift on, and in front of outfielder Don Kelly. Carlos Corporan followed with a single.

Verlander (4-2) struck out nine and left after the seventh. The former AL MVP and Cy Young winner has a 1.55 ERA this season.

Orioles 8, Angels 4

Anaheim, Calif. — J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado each hit a two-run homer off Jerome Williams in his first start of the season, leading Baltimore over the reeling Los Angeles Angels.

Jason Hammel (4-1) allowed four runs and nine hits through six innings, helping the Orioles tie the New York Yankees for second place in the AL East. The right-hander came in 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA in three previous starts against the Angels.

Mike Trout homered for the Angels, whose 11-20 start has matched the worst in franchise history. They have lost seven of nine and are a season-worst nine games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.

Twins 4, Indians 2

Cleveland — Mike Pelfrey pitched six effective innings, Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer and Minnesota beat Cleveland to stop the Indians’ six-game winning streak.

Justin Morneau drove in a run with a bases-loaded single in the sixth while Joe Mauer, who was in a 5-for-43 slump, added an RBI double in the seventh for his 1,300th career hit.

Blue Jays 10, Mariners 2

Toronto — Mark DeRosa hit a three-run homer, Melky Cabrera added a solo shot and the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak.

Brandon Morrow pitched three-hit ball over eight innings for his first win of the year. He struck out eight, matching a season high.

Royals 6, White Sox 5

Kansas City, Mo. — Alex Gordon hit an RBI single with two outs in the 10th and the Kansas City Royals, saved when Billy Butler sent the game into extra innings, rallied past the Chicago White Sox.

Butler’s two-out, two-run double in the ninth tied it for Kansas City.

Lorenzo Cain led off the 10th with his third hit and stole second with one out. With two outs, Chris Getz was intentionally walked and George Kottaras then walked on five pitches, loading the bases for Gordon.

Athletics 5, Yankees 4

New York — Josh Donaldson hit Oakland’s third home run of the game, a tiebreaking drive off Boone Logan in the eighth inning that lifted the Athletics over the New York Yankees.

Luke Montz and Yoenis Cespedes homered as Oakland took a 4-1 lead against Andy Pettitte, who struggled for the second straight start, but the Yankees rallied in the sixth against reliever Jerry Blevins.

Preston Claiborne, a 25-year-old right-hander, followed Pettitte and retired six straight batters in his major league debut. But Donaldson homered into the left-field second deck with one out in the eighth against Logan (2-2).

Sean Doolittle (2-0) pitched a perfect seventh, and Ryan Cook got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth by striking out Jayson Nix and retiring Lyle Overbay on a flyout to deep center.