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Tigers offense shaky in loss

Nothing frustrates Max Scherzer more than being able to pinpoint a loss on one pitch.

Even worse if it's an 0-2 pitch.

Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Wednesday.

De Aza, who was called up earlier in the day to fill a roster spot opened by a trade, connected against Scherzer (11-6) in the second, hitting an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for his first major league homer.

"I didn't throw it with 100 percent conviction, I don't know why," Scherzer said. "Because the next time I faced him, I threw with 100 percent conviction and I was able to execute like I wanted.

"I made one mistake and it cost me."

Austin Jackson hit a leadoff homer in the seventh, but that was it for Detroit against John Danks (4-8) and two relievers.

The Tigers got plenty of runners aboard against Danks but couldn't convert, registering just one hit in nine chances with runners in scoring position — a single that loaded the bases. Detroit left nine runners on base.

"With runners in scoring position, you want to come through for your team," Jackson said. "Once (Danks) got runners in scoring position, he got really nasty."

Danks (4-8), who left after Jackson's fifth homer, matched a career high with 10 strikeouts while improving to 4-0 with a sparkling 0.98 ERA in his last six starts. The left-hander allowed six hits and walked three.

"Danks was tremendous. He had his cutter going, really nasty," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Not that it was easy to get him, because it wasn't, but the thing that frustrates you a little bit is when you have opportunity after opportunity. If you just take one or two hits in that game, you might have three or four runs."

Chris Sale replaced Danks and worked 2 2-3 perfect innings before Sergio Santos got the last out for his 21st save in 24 chances.

Scherzer struck out eight in six innings, yielding six hits and four walks.

"I was able to battle through six innings and keep them from scoring again. I gave the team a chance to win, we just didn't execute today," he said. "It's always frustrating when you can look at a start and narrow it down to one pitch."

The White Sox closed within 3½ games of Detroit in the AL Central, a threshold Chicago has reached, but not surpassed, since mid-April. The Tigers fell to 23-13 against AL Central opponents, still the best intradivision record in the league.

Alexei Ramirez had a one-out walk ahead of De Aza's homer in his 195th at-bat in the majors. The speedy center fielder had previous stints with the White Sox and Florida Marlins.

De Aza was called up from Triple-A Charlotte after the White Sox traded starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and utilityman Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Jason Frasor and pitching prospect Zach Stewart.

"Right on time. In the right place in the right time," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of De Aza's arrival. "We liked him in spring training. We didn't have space for him on the 25-man roster, but I think he's going to see some playing time. Hopefully, he can help us."

White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said De Aza will get regular playing time in place of Alex Rios, who is hitting .208. Williams said "Rios is going to have to take a back seat now."

Rios hasn't homered since June 19.

Danks used all those strikeouts to work out of several jams.

The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the third, but Danks struck out Ryan Raburn and got Magglio Ordonez to bounce into a force play.

Danks walked Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez with none out in the fourth, then struck out Jhonny Peralta, Carlos Guillen and Wilson Betemit in order to end the inning, all swinging.

Danks struck out Ordonez with two runners on in the fifth. Ordonez entered the game hitting .577 (15 for 26) career against Danks.

The White Sox just missed adding to their lead in the seventh.

Adam Dunn drew a one-out walk to load the bases for Carlos Quentin, who missed a grand slam by a few feet, his drive hooking outside the foul pole in left. He drove the next pitch down the right-field line, but it curled into the seats.

Quentin finally flied out to shallow left and Juan Pierre was cut down at the plate by left fielder Raburn.

NOTES: Danks also struck out 10 against Texas on May 9, 2009. ... Dunn reached base four times in a game for the first time since May 31. He remained 2 for 68 against left-handers after walking against Phil Coke in the seventh. ... The Tigers concluded a seven-game road trip and now return home to begin a seven-game homestand on Thursday against the Angels. Detroit went 4-3 on the trip. ... Chicago is off on Thursday, then opens a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. ... Chicago improved to 3-7 in its last 10 games against Detroit at home. ... Chicago slugger Paul Konerko struck out three times for second time this season and first time since April 23. ... Despite the loss, the Tigers have won 15 of their last 21 games against the White Sox.