Detroit, MI – When looking at the matchup of Chris Sale versus Rick Porcello, one might think Sale and the White Sox have the big advantage.
Not so on Saturday.
Porcello (7-5) looked more like the Cy Young Award candidate and the pitcher many expected him to be, allowing one run in eight-plus innings to put the Detroit Tigers into first place with a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The Tigers, whom many expected to run away with the AL Central, have taken a circuitous route to get back into the division's top spot. With the victory, the team's fourth straight, Detroit is alone in first place for the first time since April 22.
Porcello, a former first-round pick, was the reason why on Saturday, allowing only five hits and nary a walk with four strikeouts.
"It was a big win," Porcello said. "It put us in first place and put us in position to possibly sweep these guys and at the very least take two out of three. Everybody really played well."
He also got offensive support from Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, with the former hitting a go-ahead two-run double and adding a two-run single and the latter a three-run homer.
Sale (11-3) had an eight-decision win streak snapped -- the longest in the AL this year -- after tying a season-worst with five runs allowed in seven innings. It's only the second time in 17 starts in which he's allowed more than three runs this season.
"I've got to make better pitches against a team like that," Sale said. "Up and down the lineup, they've got guys that can hit. They'll hurt you."
The White Sox have lost four straight and five of six.
Porcello retired the first 12 hitters he faced, but Sale matched him zero for zero early on. In the fifth, the White Sox got their first baserunner when Paul Konerko led off with a single.
Konerko was erased on Alex Rios' fielder's choice grounder, but Rios moved to second on a groundout and scored on Dayan Viciedo's two-out single to right.
Porcello barely made another mistake the rest of the way.
Detroit immediately answered in the home half, all with two outs. Gerald Laird kept the inning alive with a single, and Danny Worth followed with another base hit. Jackson put the Tigers ahead for good with a two-run double to right.
In the next inning, Miguel Cabrera singled and Jhonny Peralta walked to precede Boesch's two-out blast to right for a comfortable 5-1 Detroit advantage.
The only other baserunner Porcello allowed was a leadoff single in the eighth, but he followed by inducing a double-play groundout to erase the threat.
Jackson added a two-run single in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Detroit leads the season series, 6-4...The Tigers have won 10 of 11 at home...Sale's last loss came on May 12 against Kansas City...The White Sox acquired pitcher Brett Myers in a trade with the Houston Astros for two pitchers and a player to be named later...Chicago fell to 7-22 this season when going homerless in a game...Jackson tied a career-high with four RBI, previously doing it on May 9, 2011.