Sale, White Sox close set with Tigers

Chris Sale hasn't recorded a win since May 17 at the conclusion of a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0).

Now he's mired in a lengthy seven-game winless run (0-6) and looks to get back on track when the Chicago White Sox close out a three-game series Thursday against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Sale has a respectable 3.10 earned run average during the streak and the White Sox are 1-6 in that time. Sale was last in action Saturday in a 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay and yielded three runs, two of which were earned, and six hits through seven innings. He dropped to 5-8 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 starts.

"Those are six games we should win when he holds a team like he does each and every time he goes out there and we don't score any runs for him," White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn said. "I look at that as six games, or at least four or five, we should win."

The All-Star left-hander is 2-6 in nine road starts and just 1-3 with a 4.41 ERA in 13 career appearances (3 starts) against Detroit.

Detroit will counter with Anibal Sanchez, who is making his second start since coming off the disabled list. Sanchez pitched well in a 9-4 victory at Cleveland on Saturday and held the visitors to a run and three hits in five innings. He threw 73 pitches, 46 of which were strikes.

"I was pleasantly surprised the way he threw the ball," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I did not think he would throw with that velocity."

Sanchez has won four of his last six decisions and is 7-5 in 14 starts with a 2.70 ERA. The right-hander has never faced Chicago and has been impressive at home, going 5-1 over six starts with a 1.64 ERA.

The AL Central-leading Tigers set themselves up for a series win with Wednesday's 8-5 victory, one night after losing the opener by an 11-4 score.

Rick Porcello evened his record at 6-6 on the mound for Detroit and allowed three runs in six innings. Joaquin Benoit then came on in the ninth to register his eighth save of the season.

Prince Fielder homered and collected three hits and three RBI, while Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez ended with three hits, an RBI and a run scored apiece for the Tigers, who moved 3 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central after the Indians lost to Toronto.

The Tigers have won seven of their last nine games.

"We had some really good at-bats," Leyland said. "It's a good win for us, you can see that their starting to play better."

Victor Martinez had three hits and is riding a 12-game hitting streak. Detroit will visit Texas for three games this weekend.

Chicago continued to falter toward the All-Star break, having lost 11 of its last 14 games. Dylan Axelrod drew the start for the White Sox on Wednesday and probably wished he hadn't, as he permitted seven runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"They had some shots and Axelrod wasn't sharp," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a tough lineup to go through if you're not going to be sharp."

Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham had a home run apiece in defeat for a White Sox club that sits last in the AL Central. Chicago will continue this road trip with three games at Philadelphia over the weekend.

The White Sox and Tigers are meeting for the first time since the Tigers went 12-6 a season ago. Chicago ended a seven-game slide at Comerica Park on Tuesday and is 5-20 in the past 25 road games overall.

Detroit has won 10 of the last 13 matchups with Chicago.