ARLINGTON, Texas -- In what was advertised as one of the best pitcher's duels of this young season, a slugfest erupted in the third inning between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas (27-14) defeated Detroit 10-4 to open up a four-game series after knocking out Tigers starter Justin Verlander (4-4) in the third inning. It was only the fourth time in Verlander's career that he did not pitch through three innings in a start.
The teams combined for 10 runs in the third, seven coming at Verlander's expense. Two bases-loaded walks tied the game at three before Mitch Moreland pushed the Rangers into the lead on a two-run double to right. Geovany Soto capped the inning by sending a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall for three more Ranger runs. The seven runs were the most Verlander has allowed in an inning in his career.
Verlander pitched just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and eight earned runs.
Yu Darvish (7-1) cruised through the opening two innings, but he also ran into trouble in the third, allowing the Tigers to bat around.
Don Kelly led off with a home run to right before back-to-back singles and a wild pitch put runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter brought home Omar Infante, and the bases were loaded on a double by Miguel Cabrera and an intentional walk to Prince Fielder. Darvish would work around the threat, though, allowing a sacrifice fly before a pop out to center ended the inning.
The Tigers struck in the fourth on another lead-off home run, this time from Jhonny Peralta, to cut the Rangers lead to 8-4.
Texas regained the five-run lead in the fifth on Moreland's second double of the contest, bringing home Lance Berkman from first.
Darvish finished with six strikeouts, seven hits allowed and threw 130 pitches -- a career-high -- in eight innings pitched.
Nelson Cruz added a home run in the seventh to expand Texas' lead to six.
Moreland led the Rangers with his two doubles to go along with three RBIs and a run scored while Leonys Martin and David Murphy added a pair of hits. Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre each scored twice.
Notes: Pitcher Evan Reed made his major league debut for the Tigers on Thursday night after being called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Toledo... RHP Rick Porcello (1-2) will face Rangers RHP Nick Tepesch on Friday night. Porcello is 2-3 against the Rangers in his career... With the win, Texas has won 13 of its last 14 series openers going back to 2012... Cory Burns made his Texas debut in the ninth after being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday.