The Sports Xchange

By John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange

Snider leads Pirates' win: Verlander injured

PITTSBURGH --- Travis Snider had one of his best games during his three years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, it was nearly lost in the news that Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander -- who won the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young awards -- will return to Detroit for an MRI on Tuesday after exiting Monday night's 11-6 loss to the Pirates with right shoulder soreness.

Snider had the third two-home run game of his career but first in nearly five years to go with three hits, three runs scored and four RBIs to power the Pirates.

Snider's first home run was a two-run shot that capped a three-run second that put the Pirates ahead 8-1. The left fielder's solo blast in the eighth inning finished the scoring and was his ninth homer of the season.

Snider's last two-homer game came on Sept. 15, 2009, for the Toronto Blue Jays against the New York Yankees.

Snider's playing time figures to increase after center fielder Andrew McCutchen, last year's National League MVP, was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a fracture in his lower left rib cage. Left fielder Starling Marte will play center field in McCutchen's absence.

"Cutch is going to be missed but we also understand we can still win if everyone on the team fills their roles," Snider said. "I'm just happy to contribute offensively and defensively to a win, fill my role."

Verlander (10-11) exited after allowing five runs -- four earned -- and four hits with two walks and three strikeouts as the Pirates took a 5-1 lead.

The loss ended Verlander's streak of 14 consecutive interleague victories. He had been 4-0 both against NL teams this season and against the Pirates in his career.

"Obviously there's a level concern when you go get an MRI," Verlander said. "That's never a good sign -- that's the first time in my career (other than for team physicals. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous. I've never been through this before. I'll keep my hopes high and keep my fingers crossed."

The Tigers (63-53) lost for the sixth time in eight games and dropped into second place in the AL Central, a half-game behind the Kansas City Royals.

Verlander said he initially had trouble getting loose during warmups, then again when he took the mound to start the bottom of the first inning. He lobbied to stay in the game because the Tigers were forced to use their bullpen for 13 innings Sunday in a 19-inning loss to the Blue Jays at Toronto.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said there was no way he was going to allow Verlander to pitch a second inning.

"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself because he's just a big part of this team," Ausmus said. "I would've kicked myself from now until the end of the season."

Third baseman Josh Harrison had three hits for the Pirates a day after his 13-game hitting streak ended. Marte had two hits, including a three-run triple in the first inning.

First baseman Ike Davis and catcher Russell Martin hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning -- extending the Pirates' lead to 10-4 -- and shortstop Jordy Mercer had two hits.

Jeff Locke (4-3) got through five innings for the win, giving up four runs and eight hits while walking four and striking out one.

The Pirates (63-55) ended a two-game losing streak and remained 2 1/2 games in back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis had three hits, including a two-run double in the eighth that cut the Pirates' lead to 10-6. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera also had three hits, and first baseman Victor Martinez, right fielder Torii Hunter and catcher Alex Avila had two hits apiece for Detroit.

NOTES: The Pirates recalled RHP Casey Sadler from Triple-A Indianapolis to take the roster spot of CF Andrew McCutchen (fracture lower left ribcage), who was placed on the 15-day DL. ... Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker did not start for the sixth consecutive game because of lower back tightness. ... Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, on the DL since July 5 with a strained right lat, rejoined the team after making three rehab starts for Triple-A Indianapolis but no decision was made about whether he would be activated. ... The Tigers made major bullpen changes after playing a 19-inning game Sunday at Toronto. They recalled LHP Ian Krol and RHP Justin Miller from Triple-A Toledo and purchased the contract of RHP Kevin Whelan from the same club while RHP Joakim Soria went on 15-day DL and LHP Blaine Hardy and LHP Patrick McCoy were optioned to Toledo. ... Detroit will recall LHP Robbie Ray (1-1, 4.70) from Toledo on Tuesday, and he will start against Pittsburgh RHP Edinson Volquez (9-7, 3.70) in the finale of the two-game series.