Game of the day: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit, 1:05 p.m. Justin Verlander — known to hit triple digits with his fastball well into the late innings — throws harder than Jered Weaver, but otherwise, it’s not easy to pick between the two American League Cy Young Award candidates who will square off at Comerica Park on Sunday afternoon. They both have 14 wins this season. They’re both workhorses among the league leaders in innings pitched. Weaver’s 1.79 ERA is the best in baseball for a starting pitcher, while Verlander leads all major league starters with a 0.89 WHIP. Even the players are excited about this one as Angels infielder Maicer Izturis said the matchup will bring a playoff atmosphere to the game. On a day when most of the baseball headlines will surely be about the players switching teams at the trade deadline, these aces have the power to steal some of the buzz.
Other game to watch: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis, 8:05 p.m. The Cubs have the chance to play spoiler in the crowded National League Central, but they haven’t put up much resistance in this series, dropping the first two games by a combined 15 runs. Chicago right-hander Ryan Dempster (7-8, 4.98 ERA) tries to salvage the series finale in primetime, making his 20th career start against St. Louis. The Cardinals hope to continue their productive weekend at Busch Stadium. They’ve kept pace with the front-running Brewers, and in Friday’s win, St. Louis star Albert Pujols reached another milestone with his 2,000th career hit. Sunday’s starter Jake Westbrook has won two straight starts and allowed two or fewer runs in four of his five outings this month.
Games you should have seen
Cleveland 5, Kansas City 2: Matt LaPorta’s three-run home run finished off a wild ninth inning to help the Indians earn their 12th walk-off win of the season. Chris Getz put Kansas City ahead in the top of the ninth with an RBI single. But Cleveland tied it in the bottom of the inning on newcomer Kosuke Fukudome’s sacrifice fly and won it when LaPorta blasted a two-out shot over the left field fence off Royals closer Joakim Soria. The dramatic win wasn’t the only thing the Indians could celebrate on Saturday. Cleveland made a trade deadline splash on Saturday to bolster its rotation for a playoff push, completing a deal with Colorado to add ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Seattle 3, Tampa Bay 2: While it’s hard to get excited about a team that recently snapped a 17-game losing streak, several young Mariners provided a glimpse Saturday of a possibly bright future. Michael Pineda pitched into the seventh, striking out a career-high 10 batters. The 22-year-old allowed just one hit and one earned run to pick up his ninth win. Rookie Dustin Ackley hit a two-run, first-inning home run and Mike Carp, who has been in the majors less than two weeks, drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth to lead Seattle. Tampa Bay rookie starter Alex Cobb registered his sixth quality start in eight tries this season but picked up his first career loss.
Stat you should know: 12 The number of runs the Yankees scored in the bottom of the first in a 17-3 win against Baltimore, setting a team record for first-inning runs. In the second game of a doubleheader, Orioles starter Zach Britton struck out Derek Jeter to start the bottom of the first, but his outing unraveled quickly from there. The next nine batters reached base before Britton was pulled from the game, trailing 6-0. Reliever Jason Berken struck out the first batter he faced and then promptly allowed six more runs to score, capped by Nick Swisher’s two-run home run. All nine batters in the Yankees lineup had at least one hit in the team’s biggest inning since a 13-run eighth against Tampa Bay in 2005.
Star of the night: Texas left-hander Derek Holland tossed his third shutout in five starts, holding Toronto to four hits in a 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon. The 24-year-old struck out five and walked one, needing just 95 pitches to dispatch the Blue Jays for his 10th win of the season. Holland, who has been mentioned in trade rumors this week, tied Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee for the major league lead in shutouts with his fourth of the season.
Chatter: “I jumped 62 games in one day. I think that might be epic proportions. It’s pretty cool.” — Philadelphia outfielder Hunter Pence on moving from the last-place Astros to the first-place Phillies in a trade completed Friday night. Pence made his Phillies debut in Saturday’s 7-4 win against Pittsburgh, playing right field and hitting fifth behind slugger Ryan Howard. The two-time all-star finished 1 for 5 with a single that plated an eighth-inning insurance run.