CHICAGO (AP) — Max Scherzer threw six scoreless innings and the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 Wednesday to finish a two-game sweep.
Scherzer (3-1) won his third straight start, allowing four hits while striking out seven to become the first pitcher in team history with at least seven strikeouts in each of his first six starts.
He also became the first in the majors to do it since Tim Lincecum began the 2010 season with at least six strikeouts in his first seven starts.
Scherzer’s strong outing helped the Tigers win for the fourth time in five games, and shut down the powerful White Sox offense for the second straight day.
On Tuesday, Justin Verlander and two relievers held the White Sox to seven hits in a 4-3 Detroit win.
Scherzer and the Tigers continued that Wednesday against a team that started the day first in the American League in runs and second in home runs and slugging.
Detroit was one out away from its first shutout of the season, but Tyler Flowers’ single off Evan Reed gave Chicago its run.
The Tigers got all the runs they needed in a four-run fourth, when Detroit scored four times against Hector Noesi (0-2). Bryan Holaday capped the rally with a two-run double.
Noesi, making a spot start for Chicago, went 3 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He breezed through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth in his first start of the season.
Alexei Ramirez went 1 for 4 to reach 40 hits, breaking Paul Konerko’s White Sox franchise record of 39 hits through April, set in 2002.
Noesi, already on his third team of the year, entered the day with an 11.74 ERA and was one of five pitchers Chicago used Wednesday.
Noesi made it through the first scoreless, thanks in part to Adam Eaton running down a Torii Hunter drive to deep center and slamming into the wall but still holding on to the ball.
That catch started a string of nine consecutive batters retired by Noesi, which ended when Hunter doubled to deep right-center field to lead off the fourth.
Hunter scored on Victor Martinez’s sacrifice fly to center as part of a four-run fourth that also included Nick Castellanos’ sacrifice fly to left, and Holaday’s two-out, two-run double.
Chicago had a chance to score in the third. Eaton walked with one out, advanced to second on Gordon Beckham’s single and reached third on a Jose Abreu fielder’s choice but was stranded when Adam Dunn struck out.
NOTES: Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez, working his way back from a blister on his right middle finger, threw from flat ground prior to Wednesday’s game. Manager Brad Ausmus described the session as something to “keep the shoulder muscles loose.” . White Sox manager Robin Ventura said LHP Chris Sale is “feeling better” but a rehab start is a possibility if his recovery continues to be extended. Sale has been on the disabled list since April 22 — retroactive to April 18 — with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. Ventura also said RHP Felipe Paulino (right rotator cuff inflammation) will have a rehab assignment coming up “pretty soon.” … Ausmus was asked about Victor Martinez’s professional approach to the game, “I haven’t seen a hitter like Victor, ever. The concentration on every pitch, the urgency to drive in a run. I’ve never come across someone like Victor before, especially at his age.”