DETROIT (AP) Tigers manager Jim Leyland altered the lineup a bit, hoping to boost his team's offense.
Turned out Detroit didn't need too many runs with Rick Porcello on the mound.
Porcello pitched impressively into the seventh inning and Detroit beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Sunday. The Tigers left 12 runners on base, but solo homers by Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Andy Dirks provided all the scoring they needed.
''I felt like the ball's been coming out of my hand good as far as my fastball having life and that sort of thing,'' Porcello said. ''I think just trying to slow everything down has been the main thing that I continue to keep working on.''
Fielder's 432-foot shot to right-center - his fourth homer of the year - broke a 1-all tie in the third. Jackson homered for the Tigers in the first after Adam Dunn gave Chicago an early lead with a solo shot in the top half.
Dirks batted second and fellow outfielder Brennan Boesch was dropped to eighth. The Tigers had 10 hits but could never quite break the game open. Alex Avila hit into a double play with runners on first and third to end the fifth. Dirks popped out to end the sixth with runners on second and third.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Boesch hit a routine fly.
''It's good to get a lot of runners on base,'' Dirks said. ''We didn't quite get the hit when we needed it today, but we're coming around.''
Dirks finally added an insurance run with his homer to right in the eighth.
Porcello (3-2) allowed a run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. Four relievers finished for the Tigers, with Jose Valverde pitching the ninth for his fifth save.
The Tigers were held to three or fewer runs for the fourth time in six games.
''The key today was, if we get the pitching like we got the last couple of games, I'll be happy, because we're going to hit at some point,'' Leyland said. ''We got some hits today, we just didn't get a lot of big ones.''
Dylan Axelrod (0-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings. The 26-year-old made his first start of the season for the White Sox, part of a pitching shuffle that moved Chris Sale from starter to closer.
With a doubleheader coming up Monday at Cleveland, Chicago optioned Axelrod to Triple-A Charlotte after the game. Left-hander Eric Stults will come up from the minors to start the second game Monday, and the White Sox are also expected to add a reliever.
Axelrod struck out four and walked two.
''He pitched his guts out today,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''We're trying to figure out how to fill that hole in the rotation, and today was a good step for him. He made a couple mistakes against a very good offense, but he battled through a lot of things and gave us a chance to win the game.''
The first two games of this series were won on two-run homers in the ninth inning - by Detroit's Jhonny Peralta on Friday night and Dunn on Saturday. All the runs in the finale came via the long ball, but Valverde held onto the lead this time after allowing Dunn's homer a day earlier.
Valverde gave up a hit and a walk but struck out Gordon Beckham to end it.
Dunn's solo shot in the first was his ninth homer of the season, but that was all the scoring for the White Sox. Porcello struck out five and walked two.
Jackson led off the bottom of the first with his fourth homer of the year.
Chicago outfielder Dayan Viciedo left in the seventh after being hit in the right elbow with a pitch. X-rays were negative and he is day to day.
NOTES: Detroit optioned RHP Brayan Villarreal to Triple-A Toledo to make room for RHP Doug Fister (0-0), who will return from a left side strain Monday night and start at Seattle against Blake Beavan (1-3) of the Mariners. ... Stults (0-0) will face Cleveland's Josh Tomlin (1-2) on Monday. Chicago RHP Phil Humber (1-1) takes on Zach McAllister (0-0) in the opener of the doubleheader. ... Dunn's homer was his 374th, tying Rocky Colavito for 69th on the career list. ... Leyland won his 1,602nd game, tying Fred Clarke for 16th.
- Rick Porcello
- Andy Dirks
- Adam Dunn