Stifling White Sox, Porcello lifts Tigers into first
|Stifling White Sox, Porcello lifts Tigers into first|
By Anthony Odoardi / MLB.com | 7/21/2012 6:25 PM ET
DETROIT -- In their previous seven games, the Tigers hadn't lost to a lefty. But then again, none of those lefties was Chris Sale, who entered Saturday's contest with an 11-2 record and leading the American League with a 2.11 ERA.
Behind a dominant Rick Porcello, Detroit extended that streak to eight games, defeating Sale and the White Sox, 7-1, to move into first place in the American League Central for the first time since May 1.
After Friday night's win, the Tigers came into the day a half-game behind Chicago for the division lead. Thanks to Porcello's eight-plus innings, they finished in sole possession of it. One year ago Saturday, the Tigers claimed first place in the AL Central and never looked back, proceeding to win it by 15 games.
The 23-year-old Porcello had three tough acts to follow. Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander had combined the previous three days to pitch 23 innings, allowing a total of nine hits, three runs and 25 strikeouts.
Porcello matched his teammates and perhaps did even better, outdueling one of the AL's toughest pitchers. Porcello retired the first 12 batters he faced, holding the White Sox without a baserunner until Paul Konerko led off the fifth with a single.
After scoring all four of their runs with two outs Friday, the Tigers followed suit on Saturday. Since the All-Star break, Detroit has scored 35 of its 48 runs with two outs, including nine against Chicago through the first two games of this series.
Back-to-back two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth inning brought Austin Jackson to the plate, and the Tigers' center fielder made Sale pay with a two-run double into the right-center-field gap. Jackson finished with four RBIs, tying a career high.
In the sixth, Brennan Boesch broke the game open by smoking a three-run homer into the right-field seats. Boesch finished the game 1-for-3 and is batting .362 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in July.
It was only the second home run allowed to a left-handed hitter this year by Sale, who had nearly matched Porcello pitch for pitch until the Tigers' two-run fifth. Sale worked seven innings and yielded seven hits and four walks.
The Tigers were unable to turn two double plays in the fifth, ultimately leading to the first White Sox run. After tagging second for one out, Danny Worth dropped the ball on the transfer. The hit-and-run was on with A.J. Pierzynski up, and when the veteran catcher hit a routine grounder, Alex Rios had already reached second. Dayan Viciedo followed with a bloop single into right field that plated the game's first run.
But The Tigers responded in the bottom half of the frame and did so with, of course, a two-out rally.
Anthony Odoardi is an[..]ociate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
MLB.com Gameday | tigers.com: Gameday
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