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Detroit at Chicago

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Detroit (86-62) «010003100570
Chi. White Sox (73-74)000000000070

Verlander earns 23rd win as Tigers blank White Sox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Get this, Justin Verlander said he felt better Tuesday night than he had in a while.

It sure is a great time to play for the Detroit Tigers.

Verlander pitched seven strong innings to earn his major league-best 23rd win and the Tigers blanked the Chicago White Sox 5-0 for their 11th consecutive victory.

Verlander (23-5) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked two while becoming the first Tiger since Hal Newhouser in 1946 to win 11 consecutive starts and the AL's first 23-game winner since Barry Zito in 2002.

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"It's probably best I've felt in the last few starts, the last five or six," Verlander said. "I really felt like I was getting back that rhythm I've been trying to find for a while."

That's a scary statement for the rest of the American League.

Verlander improved to 11-0 with a 2.51 ERA since his last loss on July 15 in Chicago, his only defeat in 15 decisions against AL Central opponents this season.

"He's the best pitcher I've ever had," manager Jim Leyland said. "I'll leave it at that."

Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer for AL Central-leading Detroit, buoyed by its longest winning streak since September 1968. Miguel Cabrera had two doubles, walked twice and scored two runs.

"[Martinez's homer] allowed me to go out there and be aggressive," Verlander said. "That's probably the reason I was able to go seven innings."

Gavin Floyd (12-11) gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, falling to 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 17 career starts against Detroit.

Brent Morel doubled and walked twice for Chicago. Alex Rios had three singles.

"When you face a pitcher of that caliber you've got to get it done before he starts to make his pitch," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He throws every pitch in any count. The guy throws 98 and he'll throw you a 3-2 breaking ball. I don't think you can do much about that."

Detroit has won five straight against the White Sox and reduced its magic number to win the Central to four over Cleveland. The Tigers have outscored Chicago 54-15 during the streak.

"I've said all year that we weren't playing our best baseball," Verlander said. "You look at the talent around this room, if everybody gets rolling it's going to be tough to beat us. This last couple of weeks, it's been an example of that."

Cabrera doubled and scored in the second, and the Tigers added three more in the sixth. With one out and a runner on third, Cabrera was intentionally walked before Martinez sent a 3-2 pitch over the Detroit bullpen in right.

Martinez battled Floyd for nine pitches, fouling off five, before going deep in the game's most important at-bat.

"Terrific at-bat, it really was," Leyland said. "It was a terrific at-bat and he got one and didn't miss it."

Floyd walked the next two batters and threw a wild pitch before being pulled after 98 pitches.

For the second straight start, Verlander allowed a number of baserunners and foul balls early in the game to drive up his pitch count, but settled down to pitch through the seventh. He has gone at least six innings and thrown at least 104 pitches in each of his 32 starts this season.

"Being a power pitcher, foul balls come with the territory," Verlander said. "It's going to happen. Sometimes, your pitch count is going to creep up a little bit. Once we got a little bit more of a lead, I was able to calm back down and go seven innings."

The 6-foot-5 right-hander, a front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award, worked out of jams in three of the first four innings. He got Dayan Viciedo on an around-the-horn double play with runners on the corners and one out in the first, then got Gordon Beckham to fly out with two on to end the second.

Verlander also struck out Beckham looking with a curveball with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth.

"He threw a couple of unhittable pitches," Leyland said.

The White Sox were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in the game, dropping to 5 for 45 in those situations over their last five games.

The Tigers have won 21 of their last 25 games.

"It's not easy," Leyland said. "It never gets easy. It's hard to do. We've been on a nice run and hopefully we can keep it going."

Notes

  • The annual Roberto Clemente Award nominees were announced on Tuesday. Verlander and Chicago's Juan Pierre were among the entrants for the award, which recognizes players for positive contributions both on and off the field.
  • The Tigers and White Sox wrap up their series on Wednesday afternoon, with Detroit's Brad Penny facing Dylan Axelrod. The 25-year-old Axelrod will be making his second big-league appearance and first start.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Justin Verlander picks up his major-league-leading 23rd win in Chicago, allowing six hits and striking out six. (Getty Images)
Justin Verlander picks up his major-league-leading 23rd win in Chicago, allowing six hits and striking out six. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

J. Verlander
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
Detroit

V. Martinez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5000022 .252
Will Rhymes, 2B3110000 .218
    Ramon Santiago, 2B2010001 .269
Delmon Young, LF4100102 .278
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3221212 .332
Victor Martinez, DH4113013 .324
Alex Avila, C3001111 .300
Jhonny Peralta, SS3010100 .306
Wilson Betemit, 3B3000024 .282
    Brandon Inge, 3B1000000 .203
Andy Dirks, RF1000002 .255
   a- Ryan Raburn, PH-RF2010002 .244
Totals3457557  
a-popped out for Dirks in the 6th
Batting
2B - Will Rhymes (3, Floyd), Miguel Cabrera 2 (42, Floyd, Frasor)
HR - Victor Martinez (11, Floyd)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (97), Victor Martinez 3 (94), Alex Avila (75)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (41)
SB - Andy Dirks (5, 2nd base off Floyd/Flowers)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Betemit-Rhymes-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (W,23-5) 7600260 2.36
Joaquin Benoit 1100220 3.12
Jose Valverde 1000000 2.52
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 106-71, Joaquin Benoit 27-16, Jose Valverde 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 6-8, Joaquin Benoit 1-0, Jose Valverde 2-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 28, Joaquin Benoit 6, Jose Valverde 3
Chicago White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Juan Pierre, LF5010001 .286
Alexei Ramirez, SS4000011 .262
A.J. Pierzynski, DH4010010 .283
Dayan Viciedo, 1B3000111 .333
Alex Rios, CF4030000 .224
Alejandro De Aza, RF3000122 .307
Tyler Flowers, C4010024 .209
Brent Morel, 3B2010200 .257
Gordon Beckham, 2B4000016 .228
Totals3307048  
Batting
2B - Brent Morel (16, Verlander)
Team LOB - 10
Chicago White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gavin Floyd (L,12-11) 5.1444431 4.42
Matt Thornton 1111020 3.54
Jason Frasor 1.2100010 3.30
Addison Reed 1100110 1.93
IBB - Cabrera by Gavin Floyd
HBP - Dirks (by Gavin Floyd)
WP - Gavin Floyd (11)
Pitches-Strikes - Gavin Floyd 98-55, Matt Thornton 11-9, Jason Frasor 34-24, Addison Reed 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gavin Floyd 4-9, Jason Frasor 2-2, Addison Reed 1-1
Batters Faced - Gavin Floyd 25, Matt Thornton 4, Jason Frasor 6, Addison Reed 5
Game Information
Attendance - 25015
Game Time - 3:23
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Mark Wegner