CHICAGO (AP) — CHICAGO (AP) — Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers came out with added focus on Tuesday night, and they took impressive step toward closing out the AL Central title.
Porcello pitched his first career complete game, Prince Fielder homered among his four hits and Detroit snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
"We had a meeting before the game and everybody talked about coming together and finishing the season strong," Porcello said. "Everybody played their butts off today and I think and I think it really worked."
Alex Avila added four hits and two RBIs as AL Central-leading Detroit's offense finally got rolling against the sloppy White Sox, allowing the Tigers to increase their lead over Cleveland to 5 1/2 games.
Porcello (12-8) scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked one. The 24-year-old right-hander retired 14 straight after Chicago scored its only run in the fourth.
"We had a little extra spark and we were able to capitalize on the mistakes they made and played a good ballgame."
Five of Detroit's runs were unearned, thanks to four Chicago errors, including three by third baseman Conor Gillaspie. Another was charged to first baseman Paul Konerko, when Gillaspie's wide throw ticked off his glove.
Porcello, who threw 105 pitches, got stronger as the game went on.
"Ricky did a terrific job and we took advantage of a couple of breaks," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "He had some innings where he got some quick outs and I think that saved him."
Porcello went the distance following his worst outing of the season last Wednesday, when the Tigers were hammered 20-4 at Boston and he gave up nine runs in five innings.
"His last outing, he didn't have much stuff," Detroit pitching coach Jeff Jones said. "It's nice to see him bounce back the way he did tonight. It definitely was a shot in the arm for him."
The Tigers entered Tuesday having lost five of six and having scored only 14 runs in September — excluding their 16-run barrage on Friday at Kansas City. Detroit is trying to hold off the Indians to earn its third straight division title after winning the American League pennant in 2012.
"This is the time of year you've got to be playing well and I though we came out today with a little bit of attitude," Avila said. "We wanted to get this win and gain some momentum.
"It's been a long season and we're so close to the end, we've just got to finish it out."
Chicago, in last place in the AL Central, has lost 10 of 12, seemed doomed from the start on Tuesday night.
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