Max Scherzer will try to rebound from his first loss since September when he leads the Detroit Tigers against the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
Scherzer is 13-1 on the season and is making his first start since dropping his lone decision of 2013 on July 13. He surrendered four runs and eight hits over six innings in the 7-1 setback to the Texas Rangers, losing for the first time since Sept. 23 of last season against Minnesota. Scherzer went 19 consecutive regular-season starts without losing, but fell short of matching Roger Clemens' 14-0 start to the 1986 campaign for the Boston Red Sox.
It also was the first time Scherzer, who started the All-Star Game for the American League, had surrendered more than three runs since yielding five to Houston in a no-decision on May 15.
Scherzer hopes to get back on track in Monday's game against the White Sox, who have yet to face the right-hander this season. Scherzer is 5-4 with a 2.51 earned run average in 13 career starts against Chicago.
The Tigers, who lead Cleveland by 1 1/2 games for first place in the AL Central, are coming off a win on Sunday, as they salvaged the finale of a three-game set in Kansas City. Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks belted solo homers to back six sharp innings from Doug Fister to help Detroit post a 4-1 victory and avoid a three-game series sweep at the hands of the Royals.
Dirks was one of four Detroit players to finish with two hits, while Brayan Pena added two RBI on a pair of sacrifice flies for the division leaders.
Fister (8-5) did his part by holding the Royals to a run on six hits while striking out five before turning the game over to the bullpen, where three Tiger relievers kept Kansas City off the board the rest of the way.
"I felt great today, from the first pitch to the last," Fister said. "I'm right where I need to be."
Joaquin Benoit gave up a hit in the ninth before closing things out for his ninth save in as many chances this season.
Chicago, meanwhile, will aim for a third straight win on Monday after taking two of three from visiting Atlanta over the weekend. Jose Quintana pitched 5 2/3 solid innings to help lift the White Sox to a 3-1 win over the Braves in the rubber match on Sunday.
Quintana (5-2) extended his unbeaten streak to 10 starts but picked up just his second win in that span. He allowed just one run on nine hits and three walks with four strikeouts. His last loss came almost two months ago on May 27 against the Cubs.
Addison Reed faced the minimum in the ninth to grab his 25th save of the season.
Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo all collected an RBI for the White Sox, who have won two in a row after dropping three straight.
"We're playing good, clean baseball," Dunn said.
The last-place White Sox haven't won three in a row since June 8-10.
Chris Sale beat the Tigers in his last start and will try to continue Chicago's winning ways going with another quality effort on Monday.
Sale scattered three runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-3 win over Detroit on July 11. He also struck out eight batters and walked two. It was the first victory since May 17 for Sale, who went 0-6 in his previous seven outings despite registering a 3.10 ERA during that span.
The left-handed Sale is 2-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 14 career outings against the Tigers.
Chicago took two games from the Tigers when the clubs played for the first time this season during a three-game series from July 9-11.