DETROIT (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings and Justin Upton drove in a pair of runs as the Detroit Tigers swept the Chicago White Sox with a 5-2 victory Sunday.
Detroit came into the series having lost eight of its last 10 games against left-handed starters, but beat a trio of Chicago lefties: Carlos Rodon, Chris Sale and Carlos Quintana.
Verlander (5-5) allowed homers to Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier, but got himself out of two major jams in order to win for the third time in four starts. He gave up five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
Shane Greene and Francisco Rodriguez finished, with Rodriguez picking up his 15th save.
Quintana (5-6) took the loss, allowing a season-high five runs on nine hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time he didn’t finish five innings.
Abreu gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead with a long homer into the shrubbery atop the center field fence, but Verlander pitched out of a jam in the third.
Alex Avila, who has caught more of Verlander’s starts than any other player, opened the inning with a walk and took third on Tyler Saladino’s double. Verlander, though, got Adam Eaton to tap back to the mound before striking out Jason Coats and Abreu to end the inning.
The Tigers took advantage in the half, with Cameron Maybin drawing a two-out walk and scoring on Miguel Cabrera’s double.
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias saved Verlander in the top of the fifth, making a diving stop of Saladino’s one-out grounder to hold Jimmy Rollins at third. James McCann then grabbed Eaton’s bunt and threw him out at first to end the inning.
Quintana walked J.D. Martinez with the bases loaded to make it 2-1 in the bottom half and Nick Castellanos followed with an RBI single. Upton drove a 3-0 fastball into the left field corner for a two-run double that ended Quintana’s day.
White Sox: Coats, who needed five stitches in his mouth after an outfield collision ended his major league debut Saturday, was back in the lineup. Chicago was shorthanded in the outfield, with Austin Jackson battling turf toe and Melky Cabrera away from the team to deal with a family emergency.
Tigers: Cabrera, who has been having trouble with stiffness in his lower back, seemed to be struggling on a sixth-inning at-bat, but stayed in the game.
With Avila back in the lineup for Chicago in his first series as a visitor in Detroit, his former teammates continued to have fun with him. After Verlander walked him in the third, he threw over to first, causing the slow-footed Avila to burst into laughter. Later in the game, after Miguel Cabrera struck out on a pitch in the dirt, he kept trying to embrace Avila as he was trying to gather up the ball.
Chicago: Off on Monday before returning home for a three-game series against Washington.
Detroit: Open a three-game home series with Toronto on Monday. Michael Fulmer (5-1, 3.24) faces J.A. Happ (6-2, 3.06). Fulmer has won three straight starts, allowing one run in 22 1/3 innings.