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  • Jan 4

    Jordan Zimmermann looked like a $110 million pitcher in his last start. The
    Detroit Tigers hope the oft-injured Zimmermann can produce like that on a
    regular basis.

    Zimmermann Brock
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    , who will start for the Tigers against the Texas
    Rangers on Friday in Detroit, has been a huge disappointment since signing a
    five-year, $110 million free-agent contract in November 2015. His first two
    seasons with the club were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness.

    He took another trip to the disabled list in May because of a shoulder
    impingement. He has made three starts since his return and was sharp at Toronto
    on Sunday, holding the Blue Jays to one run on five hits in seven innings. He
    didn’t issue a walk while striking out six.

    His curveball and slider neutralized Toronto’s lineup as the Tigers ended an
    11-game losing streak.

    “My off-speed stuff was really good (Sunday),” Zimmermann said afterward. “I
    think the slider’s coming back.”

    If Zimmermann (3-0, 3.91 ERA) can string together some quality outings, he
    could help the Tigers on two fronts. He could provide stability to a rotation
    that hasn’t gone deep into games often enough. He could also enhance his trade
    value, which would provide financial relief to a rebuilding franchise.

    He lost his only career start against the Rangers despite holding them to
    three runs in eight innings in 2016.

    Detroit’s roster has been in a state of flux since losing first baseman
    Miguel Cabrera to a season-ending biceps injury last month. Center fielder
    Leonys Martin and closer Shane Greene are on the disabled list, and Opening Day
    second baseman Dixon Machado has been designated for assignment.

    Niko Goodrum, who has taken over second
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    , hit a solo homer Thursday but Texas took the opener of
    the series 7-5. The Tigers have lost 14 of their last 16 games.

    Zimmermann, 32, is 13 years younger than his mound opponent in the second
    game of the four-game series. Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.76) will make his 16th start
    this season for Texas.

    Colon lasted just long enough to collect the victory in his last appearance,
    when he gave up three runs in five innings to the Chicago White Sox on

    With another victory Friday, he will surpass Dennis Martinez for the most
    wins by a Latin American pitcher. They are tied at 245.

    “Tying Dennis Martinez, it’s such an accomplishment,” Rangers third baseman
    Adrian Beltre told after Colon’s last outing. “It takes him a long time,
    45 years, but it’s nice that he was able to get
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    , and hopefully he can break it in his next

    Colon is 9-10 with a 5.20 ERA in 29 career appearances (28 starts) against

    Texas designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo did not play in the series opener, so
    his on-base streak remains at 44 games. He is dealing with tightness in his
    right quadriceps.

    “I don’t want to push it,” Choo told the Dallas Morning News. “Do this until
    the All-Star break, and the rest will help.”

    Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman picked up the slack Thursday, delivering two-run
    homers as the Rangers built a seven-run lead and held off Detroit’s late

    Andrew Knapp had too much fun to be tired after playing in what
    matched the longest nine-inning game in NL history.

    Knapp and Odubel Herrera hit three-run homers, rookie Scott Kingery had a
    career-high four hits, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates
    17-5 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.

    Herrera’s shot into the right-field stands in the third inning off Trevor
    Williams (6-7) pushed the Phillies’ lead to 5-1. Knapp’s blast to left capped a
    seven-run seventh, making it 14-4 and helping Philadelphia improve to 5-0
    against the Pirates this season.

    The game lasted 4 hours, 30 minutes, tying the NL record for a nine-inning
    game set on June
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    , 2016, by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado

    ”Was it that long?” Knapp said. ”It didn’t seem like it.”

    It felt like an eternity for Pittsburgh, which has given up 48 runs, 59 hits
    and 12 home runs during its four-game losing streak.

    ”It’s peaks and valleys. Right now, collectively, we’re in a valley,”
    Williams said.

    Herrera finished with four RBIs and Carlos Santana drove in three runs. Cesar
    Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins had three of the Phillies’ 18 hits and Maikel Franco
    hit a two-run double in the second.

    Kingery reached base five times.

    Philadelphia (48-37) moved into a first-place tie with Atlanta in the NL East
    and is 11 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
    The Phillies lost 96 games last year.

    ”We played Phillies-type of offense,” first-year manager Gabe Kapler said.
    ”We continue to see a lot of pitches, work a lot of counts, grind down the
    opposing pitchers. I really believe it’s a great way to win baseball games and
    our guys are starting to understand it and going along with it more and

    Edubray Ramos (3-0) retired both batters he faced in the fifth inning after
    being activated from the disabled list before the game.

    Both starting pitchers were chased in the third inning. Nick Pivetta was
    charged with three runs – one earned – and Williams was tagged for five

    ”I kind of set the tone for the
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    ,” Pivetta said with a smile, ”but our guys did a good job of
    battling and overcoming it.”

    Pivetta has made eight starts in a row without a victory, though he got the
    win in relief Sunday against Washington. Williams has lost his last three
    starts, allowing 12 runs in 13 innings.

    ”I’m tired of getting my (behind) kicked,” Williams said.

    The Phillies sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh to take a 10-run
    lead. Hoskins and Herrera hit consecutive RBI singles and Santana doubled home
    two runs before Knapp connected against Josh Smoker.

    Jesmuel Valentin belted a two-run double and scored on a double by Hoskins in
    the ninth.

    Pittsburgh’s Colin Moran opened the scoring with an RBI single in the


    Phillies: Ramos had been out since June 25 with a right shoulder impingement.
    Fellow RHP Jake Thompson was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

    Pirates: OF Jordan Luplow was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and RHP
    Clay Holmes was optioned to Class A Bradenton. Holmes was sent to the Florida
    State League to stay on a normal schedule because the Triple-A All-Star break is
    next week.


    Marte stole his 200th career base in the fourth inning and added two more
    steals in the sixth. He is the eighth Pirates player since 1900 to reach that


    Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (bruised right forearm) will throw a bullpen
    Saturday and likely start Wednesday night against the Mets at New York. . RHP
    Jerad Eichkoff (right lat strain) felt tingling in his fingers during a live
    batting practice session Friday at the spring training complex in Clearwater,
    Florida. … INFs J.P. Crawford (broken left hand) and Pedro Florimon (broken
    right foot) will be examined by specialists next week.

    Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (infected right index finger) is scheduled to throw
    a bullpen Saturday. . C Francisco Cervelli (concussion) is 1 for 5 with three
    walks through the first two games of his rehab assignment at Double-A Altoona. …
    INF/OF Sean Rodriguez (strained right quadriceps) is 5 for 20 with a double in
    five games with Indianapolis.


    Phillies: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA) is 0-4 with a 6.16 ERA in his last
    six starts.

    Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05) is 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in his last
    14 starts after going 3-0 with a 0.89 ERA in his first three.