White Sox-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

The long ball continues to produce wins for the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers will seek their eighth straight win on Sunday when they host the struggling Chicago White Sox in their series finale.

The Tigers (63-45), who led the major leagues with 37 home runs in July, rode three solo home runs Saturday to a 3-0 victory over the White Sox, who have dropped nine in a row.

They continue to hit home runs despite the absence of Miguel Cabrera, who leads the team with 32.

"I've always said that we have so much talent in this clubhouse,'' pitcher Max Scherzer said after notching his major league-high 16th win. "Miggy's a big part of it, but even without Miggy, there's plenty of guys in here that are very capable of dominating in the major leagues."

Detroit has homered in six straight games and received an unexpected boost Saturday from newly acquired Jose Iglesias. After going 166 at-bats without a home run, the third baseman hit his first homer since June 2.

He was joined by a few less surprising candidates in Torii Hunter, who has five home runs in his last nine games, and Jhonny Peralta, who has four since July 14.

Hunter is batting .369 since July 2, while Peralta - who may be facing a suspension for PED usage as part of MLB's investigation into Biogenesis, has bounced back after hitting only one homer in 38 games prior to his recent surge.

Pitching, however, remains at the heart of the Tigers' winning streak. Detroit has posted a 1.00 ERA over its last seven games and the bullpen has a 0.63 ERA in that span - conceding one run and seven hits in 14 1-3 innings.

Rick Porcello (8-6, 4.49 ERA) has been as hot as anyone in the Tigers' rotation, posting a 2.08 ERA during a four-start winning streak.

The right-hander won at home last Sunday, scattering three runs over six innings of Detroit's 12-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He is trying to beat the White Sox (40-68) for the third time in less than four weeks and has gone 7-1 with a 2.47 ERA in his last nine starts against them.

Porcello has benefited from tremendous support during his winning streak, with the Tigers spotting him 32 runs.

Andre Rienzo (0-0, 0.00) could use such support. The right-hander did not get a decision in his major league debut Tuesday after giving up three runs - all unearned - in seven innings of Chicago's 7-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

While Rienzo surrendered two hits and three walks around Alexei Ramirez's error in the Indians' three-run fifth inning, he allowed just three baserunners his other six frames.

"It was fun seeing him pitch," manager Robin Ventura said. "The kid was good. For all the excitement he had of having his first start, he was great."

Rienzo is trying to become the first Brazilian-born pitcher to record a victory in the major leagues.

Rienzo, who got to pitch to fellow countryman Yan Gomes his last time out, has embraced the opportunity.

"I'm glad to be the second one," Rienzo said. "I hope more come.''

The White Sox, who have been held to 16 runs during their skid, are trying to avoid their first 10-game losing streak since June 11-20, 1976.

Paul Konerko - 0 for his last 10 with four strikeouts - is a lifetime .355 hitter (11 for 31) versus Porcello.

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