CHICAGO – The White Sox had enough trouble against Detroit's Doug Fister after hitting two early homers Tuesday night.
Now with their AL Central lead trimmed to two games after a 5-3 loss, they're going to face the Tigers' two best in back-to-back games — Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Considering that Detroit has won 8 of the last 9 meetings between the two teams, it will be a tough assignment.
"These are two good baseball teams that aren't going anywhere. We haven't played extremely well against them. If we had half the time, we'd have a nice lead here," Chicago's losing pitcher Jake Peavy said after his record to Detroit fell to 1-3 in six starts this season.
"Same time, we have a two-game lead and a lot of baseball left to play. A lot of work cut out for us with who they got going the next two nights," Peavy added.
The only two hits Fister (9-8) gave up were solo homers to Dewayne Wise in the first and Gordon Beckham in the third that gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He walked two and struck out six and is 7-2 in 11 starts after the All-Star game.
Peavy couldn't hold the early two-run lead. Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer in the fifth after a single by Omar Infante. And one batter later, Miguel Cabrera connected for his 36th of the season, a solo shot that put the Tigers on top.
Peavy (10-11) threw 117 pitches in 5 2-3 innings, yielding six hits, walking two and striking out nine.
"You go back and relieve those and you'd like to make better pitches," Peavy said of the homers.
"There's no secrets. I've faced that same lineup. ...Those guys know what I'm going to do. I had good stuff tonight. When you do have good stuff you have a lot of foul balls, a lot of swing and misses and the pitch count got up extremely high with that."
Detroit added two runs in the eighth for a 5-2 lead.
Chicago got consecutive singles from Alexei Ramirez, Beckham and Alejandro De Aza off Joaquin Benoit to open the bottom of the eighth and cut the lead to 5-3. But Benoit regrouped to strike out Kevin Youkilis after he failed to get down a bunt and fanned Wise before retiring Paul Konerko on a grounder to end the threat.
Why was Youkilis bunting?
"We're trying to tie it up. We're trying to move them into scoring position," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "It just didn't happen. We didn't execute very well."
Alex Rios reached on an infield single to start Chicago's ninth off Jose Valverde, who then retired the next three batters for his 29th save in 33 chances.
Wise, batting third with Adam Dunn missing a fifth straight game with a right oblique strain, hit a long two-out homer to right in the first, his eighth of the season. Beckham hit his career-high 15th homer and second in two nights, leading off the third.
But that was it against Fister.
"He was good tonight," Wise said. "After that first inning, I faced him and he had a pretty good breaking ball going. He just kept throwing that thing and we just kept chasing it."
The White Sox have been homer-reliant with eight of their nine runs so far in this important series coming on the long ball. And in its last 12 games overall, Chicago is batting .193 with runners in scoring position.
"I feel like we have a lot of people that are trying to do too much. We'll get runners in scoring position and guys will go out there thinking they have to do something at that point," Wise said. "I feel like we got to relax and have fun. Just go out and play the game."
NOTES: The Tigers had managed only six runs total during their four-game losing streak. ... Peavy has given up 22 homers this season. ... Wise has hit five of his homers with the White Sox. He also played with the Yankees this season. Chicago called him up on Aug. 11. ... Gavin Floyd (9-9) will come off the DL (elbow) and start Wednesday's game for the White Sox against Detroit's 15-game winner Scherzer. The finale has Verlander facing Chris Sale on Thursday. ...Ventura said there's a chance Dunn and his team-high 38 homers could return to the lineup Wednesday.