Scherzer again looks to become the first pitcher to reach the 20-win mark while dealing the White Sox their 10th loss in 11 games Monday night when a pair of All-Star pitchers face off in Chicago.
Aside from a 16-run outburst at Kansas City on Friday, the Tigers (82-61) have totaled 13 runs while dropping five of seven in September. They managed just six hits in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Royals, but still lead the AL Central by 5 1/2 games.
Detroit, though, may not need a whole lot of scoring with Scherzer (19-2, 2.88 ERA) facing the last-place White Sox (57-85).
Scherzer, who ranks in majors' top 10 in wins, strikeouts (209), ERA and opponent batting average (.196), is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts against Chicago.
He's 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last two outings at U.S. Cellular Field, though the White Sox pulled out a 4-3, 11-inning win there Aug. 13. The right-hander also held Chicago to three hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 3-0 home win on Aug. 3.
Now Scherzer will make his third bid to become the Tigers' second 20-game winner in three years.
Scherzer limited the Red Sox to two runs and five hits over seven-plus innings Tuesday but lost 2-1. It was his first defeat on the road, where he's 8-1 with a 2.17 ERA in 14 starts.
"He pitched terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "Early on, I thought he was as sharp as he's been all year."
Adam Dunn is 5 for 27 with 14 strikeouts the past four seasons against Scherzer, but he's batting .375 with two homers against the Tigers this year. The slugger belted his 31st home run Sunday as Chicago avoided a winless 10-game road trip with a 4-2 victory at Baltimore.
The White Sox will try win for the fifth time in six home games behind Sale (10-12, 2.97), who needs one strikeout to join Wilbur Wood and Gary Peters as the only lefties in franchise history to record 200 strikeouts in a single season.
"We want to win as many games from here on out as we can," Sale told the league's official website. "We might not be in playoff contention, but we have pride on the line."
Since yielding eight runs in a loss to Texas on Aug. 23, Sale has returned to his elite form by fanning 18 and allowing three earned runs in his last two starts.
He's pitched well versus the Tigers this season, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA with 25 strikeouts in three starts. He pitched a nine-hitter in a 6-2 home win Aug. 12.
Miguel Cabrera , who leads the majors in batting average (.353) and RBIs (133), homered off Sale in that contest and is 3 for 7 with two homers against him this season. Cabrera, though, has gone 2 for 14 in his last five games overall as he continues to deal with an abdominal strain.
Teammate Victor Martinez should be happy to see Sale since he's 8 for 11 against him this season. He's also batting .408 in 13 games versus the White Sox.
The Tigers have won eight of 13 meetings this season, including four of seven in Chicago.
|Alejandro De Aza||17||.235||4||1||2||1||7||.278||.690||.412|
|September 04, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Bilateral shin splints|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 31, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained lower abdomen|
|Chicago White Sox|
|September 02, 2013||Tyler Flowers||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|September 02, 2013||Tyler Flowers||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|August 20, 2013||Jeff Keppinger||Day-to-Day||Stiff lower back|
|August 16, 2013||Ramon Troncoso||15-Day DL||Pericarditis|
|August 16, 2013||Ramon Troncoso||15-Day DL||Pericarditis|
|August 15, 2013||Gordon Beckham||Day-to-Day||Strained right quad|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera didn't have much of a chance to help Max Scherzer get his 20th win and the Detroit Tigers end their recent slump.
Just three batters into the first inning, Cabrera was ejected by home plate umpire Brian Gorman and Detroit went on to lose 5-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The reigning AL MVP and 2012 Triple Crown winner complained to Gorman that he had checked his swing on an 0-1 Sale pitch that struck him in the right knee.
"I tried to get out of the way and (Gorman) said I swung, I was too far out," Cabrera said. "I asked him how could he explain that. I don't know, I just tried to get out of the way. I told him that a couple of times."
Gorman countered, "(Cabrera) was told to stop arguing and continued to argue and he was ejected for continuing the argument."
Manager Jim Leyland ran out to defend his player and he was booted too.
"I guess I made my point a little too long and (Gorman) decided to run me and that's fine," Leyland said. "I wasn't questioning the calls at all. I just thought (Cabrera) was an unnecessary ejection."
Chris Sale (11-12) outpitched Scherzer, denying him a 20th victory. Sale gave up one run and four hits in eight innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions.
"We ran into a buzzsaw with Sale," Leyland said. "He was absolutely terrific."
Sale was heartened by Cabrera's ejection, but it didn't make his job any easier, either.
"I was kind of like `thank you,' the best hitter to ever walk the planet leaving after the first," Sale said. "(But) it doesn't get any easier after that. You've still got to make pitches because they've got a heck of a lineup up and down."
Scherzer (19-3) gave up five runs and six hits in four innings as he lost consecutive starts for the first time this season after Boston beat him Sept. 3. It was Detroit's fifth loss in six games, dropping the Tigers' lead in the AL Central to 4 1-2 games over Cleveland.
"I just made too many mistakes, elevated the ball, it was too high, I wasn't able to get it down and it cost me," Scherzer said.
As for failing for the third straight time to get his 20th win, Scherzer shrugged.
"I'm not going to beat myself up over this outing," he said. "I've been pitching too well this year to do that. I'm just focused on what I can control and I just need to go out there and pitch the way I'm capable of."
Monday's game was the second meeting of the season between the All-Star pitchers. The first was on July 22, when Scherzer pitched eight innings and allowed two runs to beat Sale, who also went eight but was victimized by two unearned runs.
This matchup was different for Detroit, which has scored only 14 runs in September apart from its 16 on Friday against Kansas City.
Sale's strikeout of Austin Jackson to end the third gave him 200 on the season in 190 2-3 innings pitched. It made him the fastest pitcher in White Sox history to 200 strikeouts in a season, passing Javier Vazquez in 2007 (207).
After the ejections during the top of the first, Chicago gave Sale a lead in the bottom of the inning.
The White Sox took a 2-0 advantage with two outs when Paul Konerko singled to center, driving in Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham . Beckham walked with no outs and advanced to second on Adam Dunn 's fly ball to center, which also got De Aza to third.
Chicago scored three times with two outs in the fourth. Dayan Viciedo 's RBI single gave the White Sox a 3-0 lead, then Scherzer's throw to first on Josh Phegley 's soft roller between third and home was well away from Prince Fielder , bringing in Viciedo and Jordan Danks .
Danks was in the lineup in place of former Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia , who had two teeth pulled Monday and was held out.
Victor Martinez broke up Sale's shutout bid with one out in the seventh with his 12th home run of the season.
NOTES: White Sox general manager Rick Hahn called their season "gut-wrenching" and said they have "a number of areas we need to upgrade." ... Leyland sounded happy with the results of the July 30 three-team trade that sent Garcia to Chicago, Jake Peavy to Boston and Jose Iglesias to Detroit. Garcia entered Monday hitting .320 in 27 games for Chicago, Iglesias has replaced suspended Jhonny Peralta in the Tigers lineup and was batting .297, and Peavy was 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA, giving all three teams production from their new players. "That's what you want in trades because then you can deal with those people again," Leyland said. ... White Sox DH Adam Dunn refuted a recent report that he was considering retirement. While he did say that the White Sox playing the way they have is a "letdown" he also said "I don't know where that comes into that I'm retiring." ... White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper (diverticulitis) was back with the team after missing two games. ...Tuesday's pitching matchup is Rick Porcello (11-8, 4.76) against Chicago's Erik Johnson (0-1, 4.50).