DETROIT — Justin Verlander pitched six innings without allowing an earned run, and the Detroit Tigers salvaged a split of their doubleheader with Texas, beating the Rangers 3-2 in the nightcap Saturday.
Texas routed the Tigers 10-4 in the first game for its eighth consecutive victory, but Verlander (2-1) held off the powerful Rangers, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out eight. The Rangers managed an unearned run in the fourth, but Detroit answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning against Neftali Feliz (1-1).
Octavio Dotel pitched the seventh for Detroit, Joaquin Benoit allowed a run in the eighth and Jose Valverde walked two in the ninth but struck out Josh Hamilton to end it, picking up his fourth save.
Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre left with a strained left hamstring after hitting a second-inning double in Saturday’s opener. He’s not expected to play for the rest of the weekend.
Five days after throwing a 131-pitch complete game in a win at Kansas City, Verlander labored against Texas, throwing his 100th pitch in the fifth inning and reaching 115 before coming out.
He allowed a run on a walk, a passed ball and two flyouts in the fourth, but that was it. Verlander has now gone at least six innings in his last 46 regular-season starts.
Feliz retired the first 10 hitters he faced with ease, but when he hit Brennan Boesch with a pitch in the fourth, his night turned sour. Feliz walked Prince Fielder with two outs and allowed Delmon Young’s RBI single — Detroit’s first hit.
Alex Avila then drew a walk to load the bases, and Ramon Santiago lined a two-run single to left-center field to make it 3-1.
Feliz allowed three runs and three hits in eight innings. He walked four and struck out six.
The Rangers beat Detroit 10-3 on Thursday night in the first game of a four-game set. After a rainout Friday, they picked up right where they left off, scoring eight runs in the first inning of Saturday’s opener against Rick Porcello (1-1).
“They’re hot and they’re aggressive and confident,” Porcello said. “I was unable to come up with an answer.”
Matt Harrison (3-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings for Texas, which was 7-0 on the road after winning the first game of the doubleheader. That streak ended thanks to Verlander and Santiago, and Feliz became the first Texas starter to lose. The Rangers’ rotation is now 10-1.
Hamilton hit a three-run homer as part of Texas’ big first inning. Mike Napoli hit a solo shot in the opener, his fifth straight game with a homer. Napoli didn’t start the nightcap, but he did strike out as a pinch-hitter to end his streak.
Hamilton and Napoli each have six homers on the season.
“It’s an awesome thing when we all get going like that,” Texas outfielder David Murphy said. “We’ve got so many bats in our lineup that we’re hard to beat if we keep hitting.”
Porcello entered his start with a 1.84 ERA. It was 6.32 by the time he left. He allowed nine runs — eight earned — and 10 hits before being pulled with nobody out and two on in the second.
NOTES: Texas had a chance to set a team record for best 15-game start, but had to settle for matching the 1989 Rangers’ mark of 12-3. … Detroit LHP Daniel Schlereth worked two innings in the opener, then was optioned to Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers purchased the contract of RHP Thad Weber from Toledo between games. … Porcello’s eight earned runs matched a career worst, and this was the shortest start of his career. … Beltre hasn’t missed a game this season, but he spent time on the disabled list last year with a left hamstring strain and was limited to 124 games in 2011. … Dotel appeared in his 700th game. … Detroit rookie Drew Smyly (0-0) takes on Texas RHP Colby Lewis (2-0) in the series finale Sunday.