Verlander looks to win his fifth straight start against the White Sox when the teams continue their three-game series Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Detroit (73-74) won its fourth straight over Chicago (79-68) with a 9-2 victory Friday. The Tigers have outscored the White Sox 29-7 over the winning streak with Verlander (16-8, 3.48 ERA) picking up the first victory in that stretch.
The right-hander gave up one run and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings of a 9-1 win on Sept. 7. He’s 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last four starts against Chicago.
Overall, Verlander is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in his last five starts. He tied a season high with 11 strikeouts, and allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings of a 6-2 win over Baltimore on Sunday.
Phil Coke(notes) worked the ninth to help Detroit pick up its second win in six games. Manager Jim Leyland said Coke will be the club’s closer while Jose Valverde(notes) works out some unspecified issues.
“He’s not right. He’s not available until I say he can pitch,” Leyland said of Valverde, who’s converted 25 of 28 save chances this year.
Ramirez’s homer was his first extra-base hit since being acquired from the Dodgers on Aug. 30, but it didn’t help end Chicago’s tailspin. The White Sox, losers of four straight and eight of 10, remain nine games behind first-place Minnesota with 15 to play.
Chicago next turns to rookie Lucas Harrell(notes) (1-0, 4.50 ERA), who will make his third career start and second this month in place of the injured Freddy Garcia(notes). The right-hander failed to get a decision his last time out after giving up six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 12-6 win over Kansas City on Sunday.
Harrell pitched four innings of relief against Detroit on Sept. 7, allowing four unearned runs with six hits and three walks.
Paul Konerko(notes) leads the White Sox with 37 home runs and 105 RBIs, and could be back in the lineup after sitting out Friday, one day after being hit in the face by a pitch from Minnesota’s Carl Pavano(notes) in an 8-5 loss.
Konerko, though, is 4 for 34 with 10 strikeouts against Verlander.