White Sox look forward to home cookin’ after sweep in Detroit
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com September 2, 2012 10:46PM
Justin Verlander shut down the Sox for eight innings, allowing one run and fanning 11. | Gregory Shamus~Getty Images
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:21AM
DETROIT — Goodbye and good riddance to Comerica Park.
And good luck to the White Sox in their bid to get back in front of the Detroit Tigers if Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer pitch in September as they did in the Tigers’ dominating three-game series sweep.
Verlander completed it with eight stellar innings in the Tigers’ 4-2 victory Sunday, a night after Scherzer was equally unbeatable in a 5-1 decision.
“You could throw the ’27 Yankees out there, and they’re going to get them out,’’ Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of a tandem that seems to give the defending American League Central champions an edge over the Sox.
“We just have to regroup after this,’’ Sox captain Paul Konerko said. “It was a tough three games. We played hard, and we played aggressively all three days. Good pitching beats good hitting. Great pitching really beats it. That’s the moral of this story here.’’
A feel-good season with 94 days in first place comes down to 29 games. The Sox have four left against the Tigers at the end of a 10-game homestand that begins Monday against the Minnesota Twins. Better at U.S. Cellular Field than Comerica Park, where the Sox have lost seven in a row and 18 of 21.
“We have 29 games left to get it done, and it now has become a sprint,’’ Pierzynski said. “We’ll see who can play the best the last 29 games.’’
The Sox threw their best at the Tigers in ace Chris Sale (15-6), who stayed with Verlander for five innings. Verlander (13-7) gave up a leadoff homer to Alejandro De Aza, and Sale allowed a solo shot to Brennan Boesch in the fifth.
The game-changer was Delmon Young’s three-run homer in the sixth inning on a 1-2 slider that was inches above the plate.
Sale uncharacteristically scattered the team’s bubble-gum supply in the dugout after the inning.
“I give up a three-run shot, and not only that, I’ve given up a lot of home runs lately,’’ Sale said. “Not what we needed tonight. Across the way [Verlander], I knew what we had.’’
While crediting Young for putting a good swing on a “decent pitch,” Sale made no excuse.
“Balls leaving the yard left and right, it can’t happen, especially this time of the year when you need wins,’’ Sale said. “It’s just bad.’’
Verlander allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 11, including Pierzynski to lead off the seventh. Verlander said something to Pierzynski, who barked back.
“I don’t know if he was excited he struck me out or what, but I have nothing but respect for Justin,’’ Pierzynski said.
Pierzynski started a two-out rally in the ninth with a single against closer Jose Valverde. Alexei Ramirez and pinch hitter Dan Johnson singled before Orlando Hudson almost lined a tying double over the head of Austin Jackson, but the Tigers center fielder ran it down to end the game.
Manager Robin Ventura praised the situational hitting he finally saw in the ninth.
“You keep battling like they did in the ninth,’’ Ventura said when asked about the state of his club after a 1-6 road trip. “You can’t sit here and wish for something. You just go play, and it will turn around.”