Tigers’ Scherzer tops Sale in battle of All-Star arms
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 22, 2013 10:48PM
Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
Updated: August 24, 2013 6:38AM
From now till July 31, pitching will dominate the headlines, especially for the White Sox.
‘‘Teams want pitching,’’ one major-league scout said. ‘‘It’s about pitching more than anything else.’’
More scouts arrived Monday at U.S. Cellular Field for the Sox’ series opener against the Detroit Tigers — and it wasn’t just to see the stellar matchup between All-Stars Chris Sale and Max Scherzer.
As the non-waiver trade deadline nears, teams are interested in the Sox’ relievers and starter Jake Peavy.
But the best pitching on display Monday won’t be available.
Scherzer (14-1) prevailed in the duel, holding the Sox to four hits and getting his usual run support in the Tigers’ 7-3 victory.
‘‘It’s two big guys having great years,’’ Sox captain Paul Konerko said. ‘‘Our guy has done great this year. I wish we could have gotten him more runs to work with. He would have probably had as many wins as Max.’’
Sale (6-9) struck out 11 in eight innings, allowing only two earned runs. It was the fifth time this season he had struck out at least 10 and the ninth time in his career.
Dayan Viciedo and Conor Gillaspie hit solo home runs. The Sox’ third run came in the ninth when Alex Rios hit a two-out double and scored after a wild pitch and a balk by reliever Bruce Rondon.
‘‘For the most part all year, he’s had terrible luck when it comes to us scoring runs,’’ Adam Dunn said of Sale, who’s getting the worst support of any pitcher in the majors (2.7 runs per game).
‘‘I know he’s frustrated, and I hope everyone in here is frustrated with that.’’
Sale seemed most upset after manager Robin Ventura called for an intentional walk to reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera with first base open in the fifth, two outs and Hernan Perez at third after reaching on an error by shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
But an upset Sale then walked left-handed-hitting Prince Fielder to load the bases. Victor Martinez singled to drive in two runs.
‘‘He probably wants to pitch to him, but that’s my decision,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘Chris facing a lefty, you’ll take that every time.’’
‘‘I don’t like giving people stuff,’’ Sale said. ‘‘I’d like them to earn getting on base.’’
The inning wasn’t all good news for the Tigers.
Cabrera appeared to be in pain as he rounded third and left the game in the bottom of the fifth with a sore left hip flexor muscle.
He’ll be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Cy Young candidate Scherzer had no apparent problems. He struck out five and walked none.
‘‘He’s the same guy we’ve watched before, but he’s gotten better,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘He’s always had good stuff, but he’s not missing over the heart of the plate and not walking people.’’
Scherzer also has had more support than any American League pitcher with an average of more than seven runs per game.
But the Sox helped the Tigers along with three errors, including a second one by Ramirez in the ninth, when Detroit added three unearned runs off Ramon Troncoso.
‘‘You just give them opportunities,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We gave them that one to start that [fifth] inning off and later on. Those are physical ones, but if you play better defense, you’re probably in that game a little bit more.’’
The three errors matched a season high for the Sox; they’ve done it three other times.