(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers are fading from the American League Central race at a rapid rate, but can make up some ground when they begin a four-game set versus the division-leading Chicago White Sox with a day-night doubleheader Tuesday from Comerica Park.
The Tigers, who will open a 10-game homestand today, are currently seven games behind the White Sox in the AL Central and have lost eight of their last 10 games. They ended a four-game slide with a win over Boston on Friday before losing the last two portions of that series. In Sunday's 4-3 decision at Fenway Park, Robbie Weinhardt's throwing error on a Marco Scutaro bunt in the bottom of the ninth allowed the game-winning run to score.
Brad Thomas was handed the loss for his effort in the eighth inning, while starter Justin Verlander did not record a decision for allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings of work. He struck out eight and walked three.
"I'm proud of my guys cause they've been busting their tail out there," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "They're fighting tooth and nail out there and that's all anyone can ask. We're just playing good enough to get beat and that's not good."
Taking the ball for Leyland's club in the first matchup will be struggling starter Rick Porcello, who is 0-5 in his last seven starts, with the Tigers going 1-6 in that span. Porcello previously toed the rubber in a 4-2 loss last Thursday at Tampa Bay, where he yielded four runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Porcello fell to 4-9 in 16 starts, but was able to slightly lower his ERA from 5.55 to 5.50. The righty hasn't fared well in his career against Chicago, as evidenced by his 0-3 mark in three starts. He last faced the White Sox in 15-3 decision on June 9 and allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Jeremy Bonderman is scheduled to go in the nightcap for Detroit and is 5-6 with a 5.05 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) this season. He hasn't recorded a decision in consecutive outings and previously pitched in a 6-5 win over Toronto on July 25, as he surrendered four runs in 5 2/3 innings. The righty, who is 3-2 in the past five decisions, owns a less-than-stellar mark in his career against Chicago, going 5-10 in 16 tries.
The White Sox are only a game ahead of Minnesota in the Central standings and have won six of their last seven games. They will open an eight-game road trip through Detroit and Baltimore, and are coming off Sunday's 4-1 victory versus the Oakland Athletics in the finale of a three-game set.
Brent Lillibridge stroked a three-run triple during a four-run fifth inning and Juan Pierre added an RBI bunt single for the Pale Hose, who got seven innings of one-run ball out of winning starter Gavin Floyd. Floyd carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and Bobby Jenks later fanned two batters in the ninth for his 22nd save.
"Outstanding job," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told the team's site. "The only problem [Floyd] had is when he walked the leadoff hitter [in the sixth]. After that, he was dominating. He threw the ball very well from the beginning."
Mark Buehrle will try to throw the ball well for Chicago in the first game and he's 9-8 with a 4.15 earned run average in 21 starts this season. Buehrle is 6-2 in his last eight decisions, but did not figure into the decision of a 6-5 win over Seattle last Wednesday, despite permitting five runs and nine hits in five innings of work.
The left-hander, who is just 4-6 in 11 road starts this season, sports a 4-6 record in 11 career starts against the Tigers. Taking the ball for Chicago in the nightcap will be Carlos Torres, who is expected to be called up from the club's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte. Torres, a right-hander, went 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA in eight games (5 starts) a season ago and tossed a scoreless inning of relief against the Tigers in a 5-3 loss on October 4.
Chicago has won three of four meetings with Detroit this season after splitting 18 matchups a year ago. The White Sox have won eight of the previous 11 contests in this series.