LEADING OFF: Verlander, Gonsolin go for 11th; Cole at Fenway



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Justin Verlander looks to become the first 11-game winner in the majors when Houston hosts the last-place Royals in the finale of a four-game series Thursday afternoon. The 39-year-old ace, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, appears a lock to earn his ninth career All-Star selection Sunday as he enjoys a terrific return this season from Tommy John surgery. Elsewhere, breakout ace Tony Gonsolin of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers takes a 10-0 record and major league-low 1.54 ERA into his matchup with the Chicago Cubs. And the first-place New York Yankees send Gerrit Cole to the mound at Fenway Park when they face rival Boston for the first time since early April.

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