Game of the day: Boston at Texas, 8:05 p.m. The Red Sox and Rangers would meet in the first round of the playoffs if the current standings held, and this game is one of only two scheduled for Monday that matches two teams with records above .500. The Rangers have lost three of their last four games to allow the Angels to climb back to within four games of them atop the American League West. Texas needs a strong series against Boston to keep some distance over Los Angeles before the Angels come to town for a three-game set beginning Friday. Left-hander C.J. Wilson (12-5) will start for Texas on Monday, looking for his third straight win after he allowed only two earned run over 13 innings in his last two starts. Left-hander Erik Bedard (4-8) is scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox, still looking for his first win for Boston in his fourth start with the team.
Other game to watch: Detroit at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m. Every Justin Verlander start is beginning to feel like a must-watch. Verlander (18-5) is 6-0 with a 2.36 ERA over his last six starts, compiling 51 strikeouts and allowing only 28 hits in 45 2/3 innings pitched. More importantly, the Tigers have won 15 of Verlander’s 17 starts since May 24, and have gone from seven games out in the American League Central to a season-high 4½ games ahead entering Monday. Right-hander Jeff Niemann (8-4) has also pitched well lately for Tampa Bay, sporting a 4-0 record and a 2.05 ERA over his last four starts.
Games you should have seen:
Washington 5, Philadelphia 4 (10 innings) . The Nationals were down to their final strike in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday when Ian Desmond hit a solo home run to tie the game at 4. Jonny Gomes was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th to give Washington its second come-from-behind win over Philadelphia in three games. The Phillies had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Michael Martinez, three innings after Danny Espinosa tied the game at 3 with a solo home run in the sixth for the Nationals. Philadelphia starter Roy Halladay cruised through the first five innings, but a one hour, 11 minute rain delay in the top of the sixth forced him out of the game. The Phillies lost a road series for the first time since June 17-19 at Seattle.
Tampa Bay 8, Seattle 7 . Johnny Damon hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth for Tampa Bay, two innings after Damon hit what had appeared to be a grand slam before it was overturned by video review. Damon’s ball in the seventh had in fact hit the top of the wall, and the Rays settled for a three-run double that gave them a 7-5 lead. Wily Mo Pena then crushed his first home run as a Mariner 468 feet in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game at 7 before Damon’s decisive blast. Tampa Bay has won five games in a row for the fourth time this season.
Stat you should know: 5. Outfield assists this season for Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson after he threw out Cleveland outfielder Kosuke Fukudome at home plate to end the Tigers’ 8-7 win Sunday over the Indians. Jackson caught a Matt LaPorta flyball with one out in the ninth, then threw a strike to catcher Alex Avila on the fly to nail Fukudome and seal the Tigers’ third straight win.
Chatter: “If we had just played .500 ball on Sundays, we would be right there in contention. We’ve just got to keep winning games now.” – Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi after Colorado’s 5-3 win Sunday over the Dodgers. The Rockies had lost 17 consecutive Sunday games dating back to April 24, and they currently sit 9½ games behind Arizona in third place in the National League West.