CHICAGO -- After being shut down in three straight games by the starting pitchers of the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox finally caught a break on Thursday afternoon.
They staved off a four-game sweep at the hands of the American League Central's top team by roughing up Tigers ace Justin Verlander in a 7-4 win at U.S. Cellular Field -- the second time this month the Sox knocked around the hard-throwing right-hander.
Tyler Flowers went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs and Alexei Ramirez also went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Sox (40-59). Eight Chicago batters had hits against Verlander (10-8), who allowed 11 hits, walked two, struck out four and was charged with seven earned runs in six innings.
Verlander had allowed five earned runs and 12 hits on July 9 in Detroit during an 11-4 Chicago win.
This time, after scoring twice in the first inning on three hits and an error, the Sox did most of their damage in a four-run, four-hit fourth keyed by Flowers' run-scoring double and Ramirez's two-run single.
Jake Peavy (8-4) started for Chicago and picked up the win, his second in a row after returning from a monthlong stint on the disabled list with a fractured rib. Peavy went seven innings and gave up four runs. He struck out seven, walked two and yielded four hits -- including three home runs -- in what might have been his final start in a White Sox uniform.
Peavy has been the subject of heavy trade speculation with the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline approaching, but he still managed to remain focused against a hot Tigers lineup.
Despite missing star third baseman Miguel Cabrera for the final three games of thd series, Detroit won the previous two games comfortably thanks to its lineup producing six runs in each. Peavy and the White Sox bullpen kept the Tigers in check on Thursday, even with Peavy allowing a two-run homer to Torii Hunter in the fourth and solo shots to Victor Martinez and Brayan Pena.
Matt Lindstrom did not allow a run in the eighth after relieving Peavy and Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his 26th save -- even though Detroit got the tying run to the plate before Pena struck out to end it.
Earlier, in the first inning, the White Sox picked up right where they left off against Verlander the last time they saw him. After Ramirez singled and stole second, Paul Konerko drove him in for a 1-0 lead with a two-out single to center. Jeff Keppinger made it 2-0 with a single to right that scored Adam Dunn from second and might have set up an even bigger inning had Konerko not tried to score from first.
The slow-footed Konerko, who just returned Monday from a DL stint for a lower-back strain, appeared to run through a stop sign at third and was thrown out easily at the plate to end the inning.
NOTES: The White Sox got some bad news before the game, when RHP Jesse Crain was unable to make his scheduled sideline throwing session in the bullpen. Crain, who has on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, was supposed to throw off a mound for the second time since going on the DL July 3 and possibly return to the bullpen this weekend. Now, his return might get pushed back to after the non-waivers trade deadline expires July 31. ... Gordon Beckham's strained left wrist is improving and there is a chance he could rejoin the White Sox's starting lineup this weekend. ... Hunter left the game with soreness in his Achilles' Tendon. ... The Tigers are close to getting 2B Omar Infante back from his ankle injury. Infante was slated to play his second game with Class A West Michigan on Thursday, playing second base, and then head back to Detroit to either play against the Philadelphia Phillies or head to Triple-A Toledo for another rehab game. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland said closer Joaquin Benoit was not available Thursday "under any circumstances" after having to finish off 6-2 wins the previous two nights. The fact he needed Benoit two straight nights in non-save situations still irritated Leyland on Thursday. "That's something that has to be addressed, I mean within (here), not (with a trade)," he said. "It's just a fact that if we have to use our closer with five and six run leads in the ninth inning, we've got problems. That should not happen."