CHICAGO - It could've been a long day with a sour ending for Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers.
Instead, it was a long day that ended with a rewarding win for both. Porcello overcame a rough first inning to help the Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field - avoiding a three-game series sweep by the American League
Central's last-place team.
After throwing 40 of his 102 pitches in a three-run first, Porcello didn't allow another run and earned the win despite yielding 11 hits in six tough innings.
"It was definitely a big win for us to come out of here and avoid getting swept," he said. "It was a nice win. It was a grind. It was one of those games where you had to hang in there and see how many hits you could take and we were able to take a couple more than them."
The Tigers absorbed 14 Chicago hits, to be exact. All were singles, though, which helped Porcello and four relievers keep the feisty White Sox (46-73) at bay - including a couple of jams in the eighth and ninth that tested closer Joaquin Benoit before he notched his 15th save with the tying runs in scoring position.
"These guys are playing better," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "To me, the White Sox are showing what Major League Baseball's all about. They've got a lot of character. They're playing their tails off. They fight tooth-and-nail against us every single game, which is what they should be doing and that's what they're doing. That's a credit to them and their manager."
Had the Sox completed the sweep, it would've been their first against Detroit in a three-game series since April 2008 and first at home since August 2006. More importantly for the AL Central-leading Tigers (70-49), the win snapped a three-game losing streak. They'd also dropped four of their previous five games and watched their lead over the second-place Cleveland Indians shrink to six games.
It didn't dwindle any further thanks to Porcello's pitching and another big home run hit by Miguel Cabrera - who homered for the fifth
time in the past six games. He clubbed his 38th of the season off Chicago starter John Danks' first pitch to him in the third to tie it at 3. Cabrera has homered in six of Detroit's past eight contests while playing through a couple of painful leg injuries that limit his mobility in the field and running the bases.
"Miggy never wants to come out of the game," Tigers right-fielder Torii Hunter said. "He's playing this game like a kid. No matter
whether he's hurt or not, he wants to be out there and help the ballclub win. He knows his presence is everything. I'm happy to have
him in that lineup and not coming out. He could easily say, 'I'm hurt. I don't need to play,' but Miggy won't do that."
The Tigers used a three-run sixth to break the deadlock and ultimately win the game. Three straight singles by Victor Martinez,
Matt Tuiasosopo and Omar Infante to start the inning, plus a throwing error by Chicago third baseman Conor Gillaspie, keyed the rally
against Danks (2-10) - who took the loss.
"(Danks gave) up the homer to the hot guy on their team (and) after that the error (in the sixth) kind of deflates it a little bit," White
Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "(Danks) command-wise was better today, but you can get hurt with one pitch. He's been giving up a
bunch of (solo home runs), but this is the one that hurts because you give up three."
Infante also had a nice game for Detroit, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single and scoring a run in the sixth - which was his second straight
multi-hit performance in just his third game back from a month-long stint on the disabled list.
The White Sox, meanwhile, had five players log multi-hit games, led by Gordon Beckham's 3-for-4 performance. They just couldn't get the
big hit against Porcello after the first or against Detroit's bullpen in the late innings.
"We had a couple opportunities late, (with) guys in scoring position and we just didn't get it done," Ventura said. "You just tip
your hat to them. They pitched well and those guys coming out of the bullpen did a good job for them."
NOTES: Major League Baseball announced that former White Sox star Frank Thomas and former Tigers great Willie Horton will be part of the 2013 Beacon Awards Luncheon Aug. 24 in Chicago prior to the 2013 Civil Rights Game played later that night at U.S. Cellular Field between the Sox and Texas Rangers. This year's Beacon Awards will be presented to former White Sox star Bo Jackson and music great Aretha Franklin. ... LF Dayan Viciedo missed his fifth straight game and seventh in the past nine with a nagging thumb injury, but is expected to return to the lineup relatively soon. ... White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first inning.