Tigers beat Indians 7-5 in series opener

Courtesy: AP/stock photo

Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings, Victor Martinez homered and the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland 7-5 on Friday night to take a 3½-game lead over the Indians atop the AL Central.

Martinez and Torii Hunter had three hits each for the Tigers in the opener of this three-game series. Detroit led 5-0 before Cleveland scored three runs in the fifth off Verlander.

That was all the Indians could manage against the Tigers' ace. Verlander (8-4) allowed three runs and seven hits on the night. He walked two and struck out six.

Detroit's Jose Valverde came on with a four-run lead in the ninth. He allowed solo homers to Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs but held on.

Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4) allowed five runs - three earned - in three-plus innings.