Detroit, MI – Max Scherzer threw 7 2/3 shutout innings and the Detroit Tigers blanked the Chicago White Sox, 3-0, in the middle test of a three-game set.
Scherzer (16-1) struck out six and allowed three hits and three walks in his outing to earn his major league-leading 16th win. The 29-year-old right-hander has won all but six of his 22 starts this season and lowered his ERA to 2.85.
"It's all about the team. We're in first place and we got to keep it there," said Scherzer. "Indians and Royals are playing really good baseball right now and anything could happen, so we're going to have the finsh the season strong."
Joaquin Benoit threw a scoreless ninth to notch his 12th save.
Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta and Jose Iglesias each hit a home run for the Tigers, who are on a seven-game winning streak, despite not having slugger Miguel Cabrera in the lineup.
Chicago starter John Danks (2-9) gave up all three homers on six hits and a walk over seven frames.
The White Sox have lost nine straight and 15 of their last 18 games. They are 40-68, their worst record after 108 games since 1970, when they went 38-70.
"You just get frustrated and wait for it to turn. I think that's when you struggle ... that frustration sets in. You just got to block that out and play," White Sox manager Robin Venutra said.
The Tigers homered in each of the first two innings. Hunter delivered a solo shot with one out in the first while Peralta hammered a 3-1 pitch to center to start the second.
Detroit had a chance to extend its lead in the frame after back-to-back two- out singles from Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson, but Hunter fouled out to the catcher to end the inning.
Iglesias added another homer for Detroit and his first in a Tigers uniform when he connected on a 2-1 fastball with one out in the fourth.
Chicago's best opportunity to score came in the ninth. With Benoit pitching for Detroit, Alex Rios hit a leadoff single and stole second. After Adam Dunn struck out, Paul Konerko hit a grounder to second, allowing Rios to reach third. However, Conor Gillaspie flew out to enter, ending the game.
Scherzer's 16 wins tie a career-high, which he set last season (16-7) ... Hunter has five home runs and nine RBI over his last nine games ... Konerko played at first base for the first time since June 23 ... Dunn went 1-for-4. He is on a six-game hitting streak and is batting .293 in his last 47 games ... Danks is 0-6 with a 5.13 ERA in eight road starts this season ... Chicago's Andre Rienzo is scheduled to face Detroit's Rick Porcello in Sunday's series finale.