The Detroit Tigers crushed four home runs Thursday to beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 in a key Major League Baseball matchup.

Detroit rookie pitcher Justin Verlander earned his 16th victory, and gave the American League-leading Tigers a five-game lead over the Twins.

However, Minnesota maintained a half-game edge on Chicago for a wild card playoff spot as the White Sox were thumped 9-1 by the Cleveland Indians in the only other AL game Thursday.

The Philadelphia Phillies got by the Florida Marlins 14-8 in a battle of teams trying to earn the National League wild card playoff spot. Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard hit his majors-leading 54th home run.

The New York Mets eased by Los Angeles 7-0, leaving the Dodgers just a half-game ahead of the idle San Diego Padres for first place in the West division.

Pittsburgh's Chris Duffy hit two home runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-5 win over the Chicago Cubs.

The Colorado Rockies scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 10-5.

And, the St. Louis Cardinals used two homers by Scott Spiezio to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.