Max Scherzer struck out nine batters over eight shutout innings to win his fifth straight start, and Miguel Cabrera knocked in two runs to help the Detroit Tigers to a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Delmon Young belted a solo homer for the Tigers, who have a chance to pull even with the White Sox in the AL Central after this weekend. They are within a game of the lead and can complete a three-game sweep Sunday night.
"Because of the situation we were in, it's a little bigger of a series," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But if we win tomorrow or lose tomorrow, it's not the end of the world."
The series finale has a marquee pitching matchup of Chris Sale (15-5) for the White Sox and Justin Verlander (12-7) for the Tigers.
"There's a long way to go," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We're still where we want to be. You could be 15, 20 games back."
Scherzer (15-6), who gave up four hits, has an ERA of 1.03 during his last five starts. He leads the majors in strikeouts with 204, just ahead of Verlander (198).
Francisco Liriano (5-11) hadn't lost since July 23, but the lefty suffered his first defeat in a White Sox uniform. Liriano gave up four hits and three runs with seven walks over four-plus innings.
The White Sox, losers in five of their last six games, got a pair of hits from DeWayne Wise. They're 1-7 in eight games at Comerica Park this season and have lost 11 of their last 12 at Detroit.
The Tigers scored twice in the third inning. Brennan Boesch tripled to the gap in right-center field to plate Austin Jackson. Cabrera followed with a single to center.
Young tripled high off the wall in center field and scored on Avisail Garcia's first major league hit, a single to right field, for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
Young homered to left-center field leading off the seventh inning against Jesse Crain. Cabrera notched his 111th RBI of the year by singling in Jackson in the eighth inning.
Orlando Hudson's triple to center field off Jose Valverde scored Paul Konerko in the ninth.
With the September call-ups, both teams made a number of roster moves Saturday. Included in that was Chicago reinstating catcher Tyler Flowers from the paternity list and activating Hudson and pitcher Leyson Septimo from the 15-day disabled list. The Tigers activated infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn off the 15-day DL ... Chicago has lost eight of its last nine road games ... The 15 wins for Scherzer matches a career-high, set last season.