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Justin Verlander shut out the Rays for eight innings … and then lost for the first time since July

Apr 11, 2012, 4:16 PM EST

Justin Verlander AP

Justin Verlander cruised through eight shutout innings this afternoon, toying with the Rays lineup while needing just 81 pitches to record 24 outs.

And then everything unraveled in the ninth inning.

Verlander allowed three singles and a walk before being removed with one out and a 2-2 tie, but Daniel Schlereth and Jose Valverde turned that into a 4-2 loss.

By the time the Rays’ comeback was over Tigers pitchers threw 52 pitches in the inning after Verlander threw a total of 81 through eight innings.

Verlander’s final line: 8.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 SO … and his first regular season loss since July 15 of last season. In between losses Verlander was 12-0 with a 2.38 ERA.

As the great Ron Burgundy would say: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

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