Rick Rolls the White Sox, Pitches Tigers Back Into First Place

No Porcello/Youk rematch, but a Tigers victory is pretty good too.

Rick Porcello pitched maybe his best start in a Tiger uniform and his teammates backed him up with seven runs, on route to a 7-1 win. The victory today also puts the Tigers in first place all alone for first time since April 22nd. The Tigers were as far as six games out on June 12th, when they fell to 28-33. Since then, the team has gone on a 23-11 run.

As for Porcello, he was in command from the very beginning, matching the White Sox’ Chris Sale pitch for pitch, and was actually perfect going into the fifth inning. The blasted Paul Konerko led off the inning with a single that scooted just past a diving Danny Worth, and two batters later, Dayan “The Tank” Viciedo singled him home for an early 1-0 Chicago lead.

More after the jump

The way rookie Chris Sale had been pitching up to that point, it almost felt like one run would win it. However, in the bottom half of the fifth, the Tigers worked their two out magic. After Peralta and Boesch made outs to begin the inning, Gerald Laird and started the rally by singling to left. Danny Worth singled to right and Laird went from first to third, bringing up Austin Jackson.

Jackson doubled deep to right center, driving in both runs, and it was all the run support Porcello would need (though the five add-on runs certainly didn’t hurt at all).

Porcello was brilliant today. He was able to keep his two-seamer down in the zone, and the White Sox did not make a lot of solid contact off him. In another positive development, Porcello was able to maintain low to mid-90′s velocity on the fastball the entire game, into the ninth. Porcello had a shot at the complete game, but gave up two singles to lead off the ninth inning; Leyland lifted him for Joaquín Benoit, who promptly shut the White Sox down to preserve the 7-1 victory.

Bullet point time!:

  • One year ago today, the Tigers took over first place in the AL Central for good.
  • After two strikeouts on breaking balls, Brennan Boesch wasn’t going to let Sale’s breaking ball get past him a third time. Boesch slammed a three run homer on yet another Sale slider to extend the Tigers’ lead to 5-1.
  • Chris Sale lost for just the third time all year; one of his two other losses came against the Tigers.
  • Jhonny Peralta singled off Sale’s pitching hand in the second inning. Sale struck out Brennan Boesch to end the inning, but control problems popped up in the third when he walked the first two batters. Sale was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
  • Miguel Cabrera stole second base without a throw!
  • Phil and Bobbie Coke welcomed their first child, a baby girl! Congratulations to the Coke family!
  • Max Scherzer has been banned from giving in-game interviews by teammate Justin Verlander after the Tigers failed to score during Scherzer’s interview today.

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