ST PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - Justin Verlander continued to outshine his pitching peers by winning his Major League-leading 19th game in yet another stellar performance for the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
The hard-throwing right-hander made Tampa Bay his latest victim as he tossed seven innings and allowed just one run to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Rays.
Verlander (19-5) struck out eight batters to win his seventh consecutive start and match his career high in wins.
Verlander's 19 victories are two more than his nearest challenger, New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, and he also leads the Major League in strikeouts as he appears to be blowing away his pitching competition.
With one more win, Verlander will become Detroit's first 20-game winner since Bill Gullickson in 1991, though the Tigers ace remains focused on short-term goals.
"I'll say it time and again, those things are total season stats," Verlander told reporters. "Those things are meant to be looked at the end of the season."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)