Tigers-White Sox Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- After a strong start to the season, the Detroit Tigers' hitters have been relatively quiet this weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
Chris Sale will try to become the latest White Sox pitcher to contain the Tigers on Sunday as Chicago aims for its first three-game home sweep of Detroit in nearly six years.
The Tigers batted .304 and scored 40 runs during a 5-1 start to the season, but have totaled just three runs and 11 hits in two losses at U.S. Cellular Field.
Austin Jackson had three of Detroit's five hits in Saturday's 5-1 defeat, while Brennan Boesch drove in the lone run for the Tigers (5-3) with a solo homer.
Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers all hit solo shots for the White Sox (5-2), who moved into sole possession of the AL Central lead for the first time since April 2, 2011.
"You want to win divisional games. Tigers are going to be there. They're too good of a team," Konerko said. "All we can hope is that we're going to be in the mix at the end and be in that fight, too."
Sale will try to lead his team to a fifth consecutive victory overall with another strong outing. The converted reliever gave up one run and three hits over 6 2-3 innings to win his first career start, 4-2 at Cleveland on Monday.
"Very happy with what he did," White Sox manager Robin Ventura told the team's official website. "He had velocity and a slider to go with it. He's been kind of doing that all spring and it's kind of nice to see him bring that outside of Arizona."
Chicago is going for its first three-game sweep of the Tigers at home since Aug. 11-13, 2006. The White Sox swept a home doubleheader against Detroit on Sept. 14, 2008, and a rescheduled game from that series Sept. 29.
They had dropped six in a row overall to the Tigers and 21 of 27 in the series prior to this weekend.
Rick Porcello will seek to help Detroit avoid the sweep. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in his last three matchups with the White Sox, and gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings Sept. 12 to earn his first career win at U.S. Cellular Field.
Porcello yielded two runs over seven innings in his season debut Tuesday but did not get a decision in the Tigers' 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay.
Konerko, batting .407 with at least one hit in all seven games this season, is 7 for 17 in his career against Porcello. The current Tigers roster is a combined 4 for 36 off Sale, with Miguel Cabrera striking out three times in four at-bats.
Brandon Inge, 0 for 2 with one strikeout versus the left-hander, is expected to start at second base Sunday. Detroit activated from the disabled list (strained groin) on Saturday.
Updated April 14, 2012