Tigers drop series finale in Chicago 5-3
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers got only one shot at Chris Sale, and it wasn't enough.
Sale allowed three runs in seven innings to become the first 11-game winner in the majors, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 5-3 victory over Detroit on Wednesday night.
The Tigers did all of their scoring in the the third, when Sale allowed five of the six hits he surrendered, including a two-run, opposite-field homer to Jose Iglesias. But after he fell behind 3-1, the White Sox ace lefty settled back in.
"He's a very good pitcher," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If you do get to him, you usually get to him for a limited amount of time and then he becomes himself again."
Detroit could have done more damage in the third, but James McCann was cut down at home plate on a pinpoint throw by White Sox center fielder J.B. Shuck. McCann tried to score from second on Mike Aviles' single, but instead became the first out before the Tigers scored three times.
"Normally, runs are at a premium when Chris Sales is pitching," Ausmus said. "There are times when you're going to have to take chances and if you can get that one run there against Sale, you don't know how many runs you're going to score against him."
Sale (11-2) was 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts after beginning the season by winning his first nine. He threw a season-high 119 pitches, giving a tired Chicago bullpen much-needed rest.
Nate Jones worked a perfect eighth inning and David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.
"It's nice to be able to sit in the dugout and know I might have faltered a little bit, took a stutter step, but my guys were right there to pick me up," Sale said.
Detroit's Mike Pelfrey (1-7) allowed four runs in six-plus innings. Chicago leadoff hitters reached base five innings against the right-hander.
"They gave me a 3-1 lead against Chris Sale and you can't ask for a lot more than that," Pelfrey said. "I didn't hold it."
Sale retired the first six batters and the White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Melky Cabrera.
But then the Tigers started the third with four straight hits, including Iglesias' homer, to take a 2-1 lead. The advantage grew to 3-1 later in the inning on a two-out, run-scoring single by Nick Castellanos following an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera.
Sale settled down from there and held the Tigers to just one hit over the next four innings. Chicago pushed across single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, on RBI ground outs by Brett Lawrie and Adam Eaton, to tie it at 3. Frazier added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to put the White Sox on top 4-3, and put Sale in line for the win.
Anderson led off the seventh with a single and advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Eaton.
Chicago added an insurance run in the eighth on a RBI triple by Shuck.
Iglesias, the Tigers' slick-fielding shortstop, has just two homers this season -- against Sale and Washington's Max Scherzer.
Victor Martinez, who wasn't in the lineup for the third straight game with a balky right knee, entered 18 for 36 with four homers and nine RBIs against Sale. He pinch hit in the ninth and grounded out.
"We need Victor for the entire season," he said. "Unfortunately, one of the days he needs to have off is against someone he's done pretty well against."
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin was back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday to rest his left wrist. He broke it in spring training and it still gives him occasional pain. . INF/OF Mike Aviles returned in left field after leaving in the eighth inning on Tuesday after landing awkwardly on his left wrist while playing third and diving for a ground ball.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (6-5, 3.77 ERA) pitches the opener of a four-game at Kansas City on Thursday night. LHP Danny Duffy (2-1, 2.94) goes for the Royals.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 2.66 ERA) looks to snap a six-game losing streak Friday night against Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.69) in the opener of a three-game series at Cleveland. Quintana has received a total of four runs of support in his last six starts.