Justin Verlander struck out five over six scoreless innings Wednesday, as the Detroit Tigers downed the Oakland Athletics, 6-2, in the middle test of a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Verlander (15-8) scattered five hits and walked three en route to his third win over his last four starts.
Omar Infante clubbed a two-run double and knocked in three overall, while Miguel Cabrera added a solo shot for the Tigers, who have won six of their last eight to move within two games of Chicago atop the AL Central.
"We have to take care of business here first and try and win games," Cabrera said of his club trailing the White Sox in the standings. "Hopefully we can catch them."
Brett Anderson (4-2) surrendered three runs on three hits and three walks over 2 1/3 innings before leaving with an oblique injury.
Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew recorded an RBI apiece for Oakland, which still occupies one of the two wild-card spots in the AL despite dropping three in a row.
"We had quality at-bats to get there, we just didn't get a big hit when we needed to," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of his team.
Andy Dirks and Gerald Laird got the Tigers started in the third with back-to- back bunt singles before both runners advanced on Austin Jackson's groundout.
Infante then ripped a double down the third-base line for a 2-0 lead and Anderson followed with consecutive walks to load the bases for Delmon Young.
On a 2-1 pitch to Young, Anderson slipped on his follow through and appeared to injury himself. The training staff came out to check on the left-hander before he exited the contest in favor of Pat Neshek.
Neshek allowed a sacrifice fly to Young, but grounded out Jhonny Peralta to end the third with the A's trailing 3-0.
Detroit tacked on a two-out run in the fifth when Young crushed a double off the base of the wall in center field and Peralta followed with a single into right-center field, scoring Young for a 4-0 lead.
Cabrera led off the seventh with a towering blast into the left-field seats and Infante added an RBI groundout in the eighth to give Detroit a 6-0 edge.
In the ninth, Derek Norris worked a two-out walk before Pennington and Drew smacked back-to-back RBI singles to pull within 6-2.
Jose Valverde then struck out Seth Smith to secure the victory.
Peralta's fielding error in the fifth inning snapped a streak of 75 straight games without an error ... Verlander improved to 7-5 in 13 starts against the A's ... Cabrera now trails Josh Hamilton by one for the AL lead in home runs ... Dirks had a game-high three hits.