CHICAGO – An error by Detroit second baseman Omar Infante gave the Chicago White Sox the opening they needed against a pitcher who had been so tough on them all season — the Tigers' Rick Porcello.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland didn't see his team's sloppy defense as the biggest factor Monday night in a 6-1 loss to the White Sox that increased Chicago's lead to three games in the AL Central.
"It's pretty simple. We just didn't play a real good game defensively and of course we only got the one run again. That pretty much sums it up," Leyland said.
"Omar missed a groundball, but that's just part of the game," Leyland added. "Unfortunately we put Rick in a tough bind. When you're scoring one, two runs a game, you can hardly blame your defense for what's going on. Right now we're just not scoring runs."
Detroit has now dropped four straight and managed a total of six runs in those losses.
"We know what's at stake here," Leyland said. "We had some chances early, but we didn't take advantage of them."
Delmon Young, who led Detroit's three-game sweep of the White Sox at Comerica Park a little more than a week ago, continued his tear with a one-out single in the second, moved on up a wild pitch and scored on Jhonny Peralta's RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
Peralta was thrown out trying to stretch or it could have an even bigger inning since Avisail Garcia and Infante followed with infield singles before Chicago starter Jose Quintana got the third out.
Detroit also had first and second with no outs in the third before Quintana got Miguel Cabrera to hit into a double play.
"As soon as he got that double play, he settled down. It was the biggest play of the game," A.J. Pierzynski said.
"He (Cabera) is probably the best hitter in baseball right now. You could see Q's confidence grow and you kind of see the team's confidence grow," he said. "This is probably the biggest game he ever pitched in his life."
Chicago, held to two hits through five innings and 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position at that point, broke through in the sixth after Infante's error when Alex Rios and Pierzynski hit back-to-back homers. Gordon Beckham added another two-run drive in the eighth.
"We struggled the last games against them and this win being the first one of the series is pretty big," Rios said. "This whole series is pretty important for both of the teams. We are going to have a chance to maybe get a couple of games ahead if we win the series. It could decide what is going to happen at the end of the year."
Quintana (6-4), who was 1-3 in his previous 10 starts, retired 10 straight before walking Ryan Raburn with two outs in the eight and being replaced by Brian Omogrosso. Cabrera doubled before Donnie Veal got Prince Fielder to ground out to second.
Quintana had failed to make it out of the fourth inning in his two previous outings but settled down after a shaky start Monday night and allowed one run on seven hits — none after Gerald Lair's fifth inning double — in 7 2-3 innings.
He walked two and struck out seven.
Porcello, 3-0 this season against the White Sox entering the game, gave up five hits and four runs — three earned — in 5 1-3 innings. Detroit made three errors in the game, and the Tigers have now lost four straight.
"When you get in a tough situation like that, you've got to bear down and find something within to get out of those jams. I wasn't able to do that," Porcello said
"They caught me that one inning," he added. "They tagged it in the sixth."
NOTES: Young entered the game with a .359 average in 36 games at U.S. Cellular Field with seven homers and 25 RBIs. ... Detroit still leads the season series 10-5. ... It's Detroit's Doug Fister (8-8) against Chicago's Jake Peavy (10-10) in Tuesday night's Game 2 of the pivotal four-game series.