when the Detroit Tigers face the Kansas City Royals.He will be honored in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park and serve as the designated hitter. He will not play the remainder of the season.Martinez
, 39, has been in the majors since 2002. He is a career .295 hitter and has hit 246 home runs. He’s been with the Tigers organization since 2011, though he missed the 2012 season with a knee injury.Article continues below ...“I think that’s just me thanking the Detroit Tigers fans and everybody here,” he told the Detroit News. “To play the last game of my career here, it’s just one of the ways to thank everybody. I think that would be fair for everybody.”Manager Ron Gardenhire believes it’s a fitting way for Martinez to head into retirement.“He’s just a special guy who has had a great career,” Gardenhire said. “Not just a good career, a great career. I’ve watched him from both sides, from the visitors’ dugout and from the home dugout. I’m pretty lucky.”Martinez will be facing a pitcher who has become a Tigers’ nemesis, Jakob Junis.The Royals right-hander has recorded half of his eight victories against his team’s American League Central Division rival. Junis has posting a 1.74 ERA while striking out 25 batters in 31 innings in those four starts. He’s held Tigers batters to a .193 average.Subtract those performances and Junis is 4-12 with a 5.04 ERA in his other starts. He’ll try to torment the Tigers once again in the third game of the four-game series.In his last start against them on Aug. 28, Junis collected the first complete-game victory of his career. He struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk in the 6-2 triumph.Junis (8-12, 4.42 ERA) had his shortest outing of the season on Sunday, giving up four runs on eight hits in three innings against Minnesota.“I had been keeping the ball down and staying ahead of hitters,” Junis told MLB.com afterward. “(Sunday), I was behind hitters and not keeping the ball down. Wasn’t in the zone consistently.”The Tigers haven’t seen that side of him. He’s 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in seven career starts. Junis doesn’t have more than two victories against any other team.Detroit’s top hitter this season, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, has gone hitless in 14 career at-bats facing Junis.The Tigers will counter with veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (7-8, 4.41 ERA). He
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, too, struggled in his last outing on Monday. Zimmermann surrendered five runs in seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against Minnesota. He’s been tagged for seven homers in his last four outings.“He was really upset,” Gardenhire said afterward. “Just trying to figure out what was going on. Part of it is we haven’t been scoring runs. He’s healthy and he’s been throwing the ball well. He’s given us a chance most night. Just the last couple have been rough.”Zimmermann has traditionally pitched well against the Royals. In eight career appearances, he’s 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA.The teams have split the first two games of the series. DETROIT (AP) — Justin Verlander knew this would be one of the most emotional games of his major league career.He still wasn’t prepared.In his return to Detroit, Verlander received three standing ovations while pitching the Houston Astros to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers on Monday night.Verlander (15-9) made his major league debut with the Tigers in 2005 and ranks among the top 10 on several of the team’s career lists. He struck out 10 over seven innings in his first time on the Comerica Park mound since being traded to Houston in August 2017.“Our hotel is right near my old house, so I got to spend some time in the neighborhood today,” he said. “I was trying to keep my routine as much as possible.”That hope ended early, as the scoreboard played a tribute video as Verlander was walking in from the bullpen after his pregame warmups. He stopped, alone in shallow right-center field, and watched the entire show.“It was almost normal until the tribute video, but that really got to me,” he said. “I had a lot of great memories in my 13 years here, and that brought it all back. I wanted to get to the dugout before it started, but once it started playing, I had to watch.”Verlander received his first ovation at the end of the video, and another when he came out for the first inning. Each time, he tipped his cap and waved to the fans.The longest cheer
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, though, came when he walked off the mound after the seventh, having thrown 104 pitches.“The one after the seventh really meant the world to me,” he said. “The fans here were always great to be here, and they showed that again tonight. That was a really emotional moment.”The crowd was announced at 19,711 — the Detroit Lions opened their season next door Monday night against the New York Jets.“Tonight mattered a lot to him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “It is important to him that he pitched here and succeeded here, so it was special for him to get back on that mound.”The World Series champion Astros opened a three-game lead over Oakland atop the AL West despite a sloppy game that came after a Sunday night loss in Boston.“I’m proud of our guys, because there was a lot going on today, and we didn’t play our best game, but we still found a way to pull out a win,” Hinch said.Verlander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk, improving to 98-50 at Comerica Park. Max Scherzer is second in career wins at the stadium with 46, while Jordan Zimmermann leads current Tigers with 14.“He got exactly the response he deserved from our fans,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was a great pitcher here for a long time, and he did a lot of great things for this city.”The Tigers put two runners on in the seventh, but Verlander struck out JaCoby Jones and Jeimer Candelario to escape with a 3-2 lead. He tipped his cap again as the fans came to their feet after the final pitch to Candelario.“This was a special night
,” Verlander said.Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 16th save, including seven with Houston.Francisco Liriano (4-10) allowed three unearned runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out seven in his longest outing since pitching six innings on July 4.The Tigers took the lead in the second. Niko Goodrum doubled and later scored on a single by Dawel Lugo.Liriano’s wild pitch and an error by shortstop Ronny Rodriguez allowed the Astros to score three unearned runs in the third. Tyler White and Marwin Gonzalez hit RBI singles, while the Tigers failed to turn two potential double plays.“You have to make plays,” Gardenhire said. “When you miss plays, that’s what always happens. We had a chance to get some outs, didn’t do it, and it cost us runs.”Verlander settled down after the second, retiring the next nine batters. Candelario walked to start the sixth, Christin Stewart followed with his first major league hit and Nicholas Castellanos had a sacrifice fly.“If someone had told me that I was going to get my first hit off Justin Verlander in my first major league start . geez,” Stewart said. “It was a pretty out-of-body experience.”Castellanos made a leaping catch at the right field fence to take an extra-base hit away from Gonzalez in the eighth.Josh Reddick, in the game for Houston as a defensive replacement, started an inning-ending double play in the eighth with a sliding catch in left field.EARLY STARTThe game started at 6:10 p.m., an hour earlier than originally scheduled, to try to ease traffic congestion with the Lions playing at Ford Field. A day game wasn’t possible because of the Astros playing on Sunday night in Boston.UP NEXTThe teams continue their three-game series Tuesday night with Zimmermann (7-6, 4.03 ERA) facing Houston’s Framber Valdez (3-1, 1.37).