Justin Verlander shut out the Rays for eight innings … and then lost for the first time since July

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Justin Verlander cruised through eight shutout innings this afternoon, toying with the Rays lineup while needing just 81 pitches to record 24 outs.

And then everything unraveled in the ninth inning.

Verlander allowed three singles and a walk before being removed with one out and a 2-2 tie, but Daniel Schlereth and Jose Valverde turned that into a 4-2 loss.

By the time the Rays’ comeback was over Tigers pitchers threw 52 pitches in the inning after Verlander threw a total of 81 through eight innings.

Verlander’s final line: 8.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 SO … and his first regular season loss since July 15 of last season. In between losses Verlander was 12-0 with a 2.38 ERA.

As the great Ron Burgundy would say: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

Yankees acquire A.J. Cole from the Nats

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The New York Yankees have acquired reliever A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Cole was supposed to be the Nats’ fifth starter this year but that didn’t work out too well. He pitched in four games for the Nats, starting two, to the tune of a 13.06 ERA, having given up six home runs in 10.1 innings. That’s . . . something.

Don’t get too used to Cole on the New York roster, as this seems like one of those “give us an arm” for a couple of days deals, after which Cole will be DFA’d and will either accept an assignment to Scranton or be cut loose. Such is life at the fringes for a guy who is out of minor league options.