The Detroit Tigers have had a rough time in the American League Central, getting battered by the Cleveland Indians and generally forgotten by the Chicago White Sox through the first half of the season. But they've steadily improved with wins in their last three outings, while the White Sox lost four of their own, including game one against the Tigers on Friday. On Saturday, the Tigers were just half a game back of the AL Central lead, and they went out and took it with an impressive 7-1 win over the White Sox.
As noted by Josh Worn on Twitter, the Tigers also moved into first place on July 21 a season ago, and they didn't relinquish it, finishing at the top of the AL Central. It's the first time since May 1 this year that they've been in the lead in the AL Central, and the first time since April 22 they've had the lead to themselves.
Rick Porcello came up just short of a complete game, lasting through eight innings and giving up consecutive singles in the ninth before giving way to Joaquin Benoit. Porcello was given the win, having allowed just one run off of five hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. He moves to 7-5 on the season. Chris Sale was the losing pitcher on the day, giving up five runs over seven innings with seven hits and four walks against six strikeouts. He falls to 11-3 on the season.
Chicago got the scoring started with an RBI in the fifth inning, but the Tigers responded immediately, with Austin Jackson scoring Gerald Laird and Danny Worth with a double to right center in the bottom of the inning. Brennan Boesch then hit a three-run home run in the sixth and Jackson picked up a couple more RBIs in the eighth, scoring Jhonny Peralta and Laird on a single to center.
After Porcello left in the ninth, Benoit retired all of the batters he faced. The first two went out on a double play and he struck out the third batter to end the game.
Next, the Tigers will try and maintain the lead on Sunday while trying to complete a sweep of the White Sox. That game is set for 1:05 p.m. Eastern.