DETROIT - Justin Verlander gave the Detroit Tigers the start they needed to slow down the Chicago White Sox.
In the opener of a possibly pivotal four-game series in the AL Central, Verlander gave up one run over seven innings Monday night in a 7-1 victory over the World Series champions.
Detroit had lost nine of its previous 12 games and its division lead, which bulged to 10 games on Aug. 7, was down to 5 games.
Backed by Craig Monroe's two-run homer and Sean Casey's three RBI, the Tigers beat Chicago for just the fourth time in 13 games this year and boosted their margin over the second-place White Sox back to 6 games.
The White Sox, losers of five of seven, lead the wild-card race by a half-game over Minnesota and four ahead of Boston.
Verlander (15-6) got his first victory since Aug. 1, giving up five hits. The only Detroit rookie with more victories than Verlander in the past 50 years is Mark Fidrych, who won 19 games in 1976.
ATHLETICS 12, BLUE JAYS 10
In Toronto, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wound up with a bloody nose after scrapping with pitcher Ted Lilly near the Toronto dugout, and the Athletics rallied from an eight-run deficit to win.
It was not known whether any punches were thrown between Gibbons and Lilly.
Bobby Kielty homered and drove in four runs for the AL West-leading A's, who tied an Oakland record for the biggest comeback.
The Blue Jays had an 8-0 lead, but Lilly was pulled in the third inning when the Athletics scored seven runs. Gibbons chewed out his pitcher, who refused to give him the ball.
When Lilly left for the locker room, Gibbons followed him. A team trainer and a number of players then ran down the stairs. Cameramen near the dugout saw Gibbons push Lilly first.
DEVIL RAYS 4, RANGERS 3
In St. Petersburg, Fla., James Shields won consecutive starts for the first time since mid-June and Russell Branyan hit a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning as Tampa Bay beat Texas.
In Texas manager Buck Showalter's first game after a four-game suspension, Hank Blalock homered and had three RBI for the Rangers, whose three-game winning streak was stopped.
Shields (6-6) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings.