DETROIT (AP)—Gary Matthews Jr. walked into the clubhouse and his Texas teammates were waiting.
Matthews got drenched in a celebratory beer bath after hitting for the cycle Wednesday night and leading the Rangers over the Detroit Tigers 11-3.
Matthews did it in order, too. He led off the game with a single, doubled in the second inning, tripled in the fourth and hit a 418-foot homer leading off the sixth.
The All-Star center fielder also walked in the eighth.
“It’s special,” Matthews said. “Everything lined up tonight. To go out and have days like this is really just the icing on the cake.”
Matthews became the third Rangers player to hit for the cycle. He joined Mark Teixeira (2004) and Oddibe McDowell (1985).
The Rangers roughed up Justin Verlander and sent the AL Central-leading Tigers to their 10th loss in 15 games. Detroit leads Minnesota by 1 1/2 games, while Chicago moved three back.
“Justin wasn’t good tonight. He didn’t have his good stuff and his command wasn’t there,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We’re not worried about Minnesota—I’m sure they figure they missed an opportunity today, too. Chicago lost yesterday and won today. It’s going to come down to the wire, and we just have to win enough games to get in.”
Carlos Lee hit two solo home runs for Texas.
Verlander (16-8) yielded 10 hits and six runs in 4 1-3 innings. It was his shortest outing since April 13 when he went 2 2-3 against the White Sox.
“This was tough, because I gave up so many two-out hits,” Verlander said. “There are a lot of pitches I’d like back—a lot of pitches up in the zone.”
Kevin Millwood (15-10) gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He doesn’t think the Tigers are struggling at the plate.
“They’re a tough lineup, you got to make your pitches,” Millwood said. “If you don’t, you’re going to get yourself in a lot of trouble.”
Millwood is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA against the Tigers this year.
“Kevin has been pitching well for a while, he’s a horse,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He kept pounding the strike zone and made the runs matter.”
The Tigers didn’t put a runner into scoring position until the fourth inning. Sean Casey hit a two-run double, his first extra-base hit in 16 games, that made it 4-2 and scored on Brandon Inge’s single.
With Texas leading 5-3 in the fifth, Verlander was pulled after giving up a run-scoring single to Mark DeRosa.
“I needed to get us a stop at that point, and it didn’t happen,” Verlander said. “That’s disappointing.”
Young made it 10-3 with a two-run homer off Jason Grilli in the eighth.
Tigers star Ivan Rodriguez didn’t have a hit in the two-game series. He was 0-for-4 in Tuesday’s win and again went 0-for-4 on Wednesday.
Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has tendinitis in his right wrist and won’t be available until at least Friday. … Texas will face the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday for the first time since eight players and coaches were suspended after a bench-clearing brawl Aug. 16 in Texas. … Detroit’s Craig Monroe went 0-for-3 and he is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. … Joaquin Arias made his major league debut with Texas, drawing a walk in the ninth.