Justin Verlander went eight strong innings on Friday and the Tigers defeated the division-leading White Sox, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game series.
Alejandro De Aza opened the scoring in the third inning with a two-run homer, but Detroit went on top for good in the bottom half. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder slapped consecutive two-out RBI singles up the middle before Delmon Young belted a go-ahead double to left-center field.
Verlander (11-5) didn't allow a runner to reach scoring position for the rest of his outing, helping the Tigers pull within a half-game of the White Sox for the American League Central lead.
In all, Verlander was charged with two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He has won 11 of his last 12 decisions against the White Sox.
Austin Jackson added a seventh-inning RBI single for Detroit and Jose Valverde tossed a 1-2-3 ninth -- with the final out coming on a diving grab by Quintin Berry -- to record his 18th save of the season.
"It's nice to win every game against them," said Verlander, "but it's still a long way to go. We've got a lot of games against these guys so it's not like it's a season changer."
Jake Peavy (7-7) took the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits over seven innings. He is 1-6 in his last seven starts.
De Aza's homer -- his sixth of the season -- cleared the wall in right field and scored Alexei Ramirez, but couldn't prevent Chicago's fifth loss in seven games.
"We've had this before, you go through it, and I think most teams do," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Eventually we'll get on another run."
Detroit, in contrast, has won 11 of 13 overall to tighten the division race.
A double by Jhonny Peralta and a single by Ramon Santiago began the three-run third. Jackson then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but Berry was hit by a pitch and Cabrera and Fielder delivered the tying hits -- both of which came with a full count.
Young followed with the go-ahead double -- his 18th in 71 career games versus the White Sox.
Verlander allowed just one hit and one walk the rest of the way, retiring the last nine batters he faced, to pick up his sixth win in his last seven decisions dating back to June 14.
Detroit and Chicago have played each other nine times this season, with the Tigers winning five of those games...The Tigers have won 13 of their last 17 games against the White Sox at Comerica Park...Verlander has gone at least six innings in each of his last 62 starts -- the longest stretch by a major league pitcher since Steve Carlton did so in 69 consecutive starts.