Detroit Tigers All-Star slugger Miguel Cabrera has been awfully quiet the past week or so and will try to re-energize his club Tuesday in the second test of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Cabrera, a Triple Crown threat and major league leader in average (.353) and RBI (133), is hitting only .227 with no homers and three RBI in his last nine games, going 5-for-22 at the plate in that time. Cabrera, who is second in the majors with 43 homers, had a short night in Monday's 5-1 loss after he was ejected in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes.
The burly Cabrera and manager Jim Leyland were both tossed by home plate umpire Brian Gorman for arguing that White Sox starter Chris Sale had hit him on the right leg with the second pitch of the at-bat and then complaining again on the third pitch.
"I don't know if (Gorman) didn't understand what I said ... but I didn't say anything to get thrown out of the game," explained Cabrera.
Detroit's other sluggers, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder, were a combined 0-for-11 with five strikeouts. Victor Martinez finished 2- for-3 with a home run for the Tigers, losers in three straight and six of their last eight games.
Detroit is now 4 1/2 games ahead of surging Cleveland for the AL Central lead.
Max Scherzer was trying once again to reach the 20-win mark, but faltered in four innings of work, allowing five runs (4 earned) and six hits. He struck out six batters and issued a pair of walks.
"I made too many mistakes," Scherzer said. "I left the ball up, elevated the ball. I wasn't able to get the ball down and it cost me."
Rick Porcello draws the start for the Tigers Tuesday and he is 11-8 with a 4.76 earned run average in 27 games (26 starts). He has won seven of his last nine decisions, but is coming off an embarrassing 20-4 loss at Boston on Wednesday, when he surrendered nine runs -- eight earned -- and seven hits in five innings.
Porcello hopes for better success against a White Sox team he is 8-5 against in 15 lifetime starts. In four meetings this season with Chicago, the right- hander is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA.
Chicago has been relegated to playing spoiler and will try to ruin Detroit's postseason ambitions once again. The club has won two in a row since a nine- game slide and opened a 10-game homestand with Monday's victory.
Sale sailed through eight innings, giving up just a run and four hits with eight K's and one walk. Nate Jones took care of business with a scoreless ninth.
"This was as well as I've seen him all year," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Sale.
Sale has won five of his last six starts since Aug. 6 and fanned Austin Jackson in the third inning to give him 200 on the season, making him the fastest starter in team history to reach the milestone, surpassing Javier Vazquez in 2007.
Paul Konerko had two RBI and both Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo posted two hits and a run scored.
Young White Sox starter Erik Johnson makes his home debut Tuesday and lost his Major League debut Wednesday in a 6-5 loss at Yankee Stadium. Johnson, a right-hander, allowed five runs -- three earned -- in six innings
"He got through it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Johnson. "Obviously, he had some jitters going out there, but he battled through. For a first time out there, it's promising to see what he did."
The Tigers are 8-6 against the White Sox this season even though they have dropped three of the previous four meetings between the clubs.