Tigers hope to move closer to AL Central crown versus White Sox

Rick Porcello seems to be getting hot at the right time.

The right-hander tries to get the Detroit Tigers one step closer to an American League Central title on Saturday when they resume a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

Porcello won for the fourth time in five starts on Monday against Seattle, as he held the Mariners to a run and five hits over six innings. He also stuck out 10 and ran his record to 13-8, while lowering his ERA to 4.45.

"My breaking ball, I think, was the biggest key to the success tonight," Porcello said. "Alex (Avila) did a really good job of calling it in the right situations to throw it. We were in sync the whole night and I think that rhythm we got going was big."

Porcello's success could continue on Saturday, as he is a perfect 4-0 against the White Sox this season with a 2.02 ERA in five starts.

Chicago, meanwhile, will counter with its ace Chris Sale, who is coming off a rare poor showing. Sale absorbed the loss to Cleveland on Sunday, as he surrendered six runs in 5 2/3 innings to fall to 11-13 to go along with a 3.08 ERA.

Sale also fanned seven batters in the loss, giving him 214 for the season and leaving him two short of passing Gary Peters for the single-season franchise record by a southpaw set at 215 in 1967.

"That's the kind of stuff you look at at the end of the year," said Sale, who is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA against the Tigers this season. "Stuff you talk about with friends and family."

On Friday, Torii Hunter reached base five times and Max Scherzer earned his 20th win as Detroit reduced its magic number for winning the American League Central to three with a 12-5 win.

Hunter went 4-for-5 with three RBI, two runs scored and a walk for Detroit, which won for the eighth time in its last 10 games. Andy Dirks, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez all drove in a pair of runs, with Martinez's coming off a two-run home run in the fifth.

Scherzer (20-3) was touched for three runs on six hits over six frames in the victory, holding his lead over Washington's Jordan Zimmermann (19) for most wins in the majors.

"Not many people are able to accomplish this," said Scherzer on his 20 wins. "But at the same time, I realize why I accomplished this. It's not just me pitching well, it's because of the team effort."

Avisail Garcia went deep and tripled for the White Sox while Conor Gillaspie also smacked a three-bagger. Dylan Axelrod (4-10) was lifted after just 2 2/3 innings in which he gave up 10 hits and seven runs to absorb the loss.

"They're a good team, they're the best in our division at this point," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura about the Tigers.

The Tigers are 11-6 versus the White Sox this season, winning five of seven in Detroit.