Justin Verlander

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


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.”

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

Miguel Cabrera
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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.