8:32 p.m. EDT: Melky Cabrera broke up the bid with two outs in the sixth. After Alcides Escobar walked with one out, Chris Getz hit a grounder that likely would have been an inning-ending double-play ball, except for that Escobar was off with the pitch.
Verlander then left a changeup up to Cabrera, who pounded into the gap to score Escobar. It broke up an 0-for-49 string for the league against the right-hander.
9:35 p.m. EDT: Verlander ended up allowing two hits over eight innings in a 3-1 victory. Jose Valverde cleaned up in the ninth. Verlander struck out seven in a 105-pitch outing. He improved to 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA.
Justin Verlander, bidding to become just the second pitcher ever to throw back-to-back no-hitters, is through five hitless in his start against the Royals.
Verlander has struck out three and walked one. He’s thrown 61 pitches with the Tigers up 3-0 and retired 12 straight after walking Billy Butler to begin the second inning.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.