Tigers beat White Sox 4-2, pull even atop division

Associated Press Modified: September 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm •  Published: September 2, 2012
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DETROIT (AP) — Chris Sale threw a couple pitches he'd like to have back — and on this night, there was little margin for error.

And now there's no margin in the standings between Sale's Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

Justin Verlander shut down Chicago after the first inning and Delmon Young hit a tiebreaking three-run homer off Sale in the sixth Sunday night to lift the Tigers to a 4-2 victory and a share of first place in the AL Central.

Sale also allowed a solo homer to Brennan Boesch. After Young's homer, he came into the dugout and sent a container of gum flying.

"I've been giving up a lot of home runs lately and that's just not getting it done," Sale said. "I'm averaging two home runs a game — balls left and right leaving the yard. It can't happen, especially now at this time of the year when games count and you need wins."

Alejandro De Aza hit Verlander's second pitch of the night over the wall in right field, but the Detroit ace was outstanding after that. Verlander (13-7) allowed four hits in eight innings, striking out 11 with two walks. The Tigers swept the three-game series to pull even with the White Sox atop the division.

"They were both good. He pitched a great game and Sale pitched a great game," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "Credit their pitching. We just have to be better on offense."

Sale (15-6) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.

Jose Valverde allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 28th save in 32 chances.

Pinch-hitter Dan Johnson hit an RBI single off Valverde, and with men on first and third, Orlando Hudson hit a line drive to center. Austin Jackson momentarily misjudged it before tracking back to make the game-ending catch.

Amid a playoff-type atmosphere for a rare Sunday night game at Comerica Park, De Aza struck immediately. In his first at-bat after coming off the disabled list, he connected for his seventh homer of the year. De Aza had been out with injured ribs.

Verlander shook off that setback quickly, striking out three in the first inning and making it clear this would not be a repeat of his eight-run, 12-hit disaster at Kansas City in his previous start.

Sale was sharp too. He struck out seven and walked four, but Boesch sent a drive to center in the fifth for his 12th homer of the season, tying the game.

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