CHICAGO Justin Verlander pitched a six-hitter for his first victory at U.S. Cellular Field as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago White Sox 2-1 last night.
Jim Thome hit his 552nd career home run and John Danks pitched 71/3 strong innings, but the White Sox still fell 6 games behind AL Central-leading Detroit. Adam Everett homered for the Tigers, who have won five of their last six games.
Verlander (7-2) struck out nine and walked one in his second complete game this year. He has a 7-0 record and league-low 1.10 ERA since April 27. The seven-decision winning streak matched his career best of 2006, when he helped Detroit reach the World Series.
Going into the game, Verlander had been 0-6 with a 5.92 ERA in eight starts at U.S. Cellular Field and 2-9 with a 5.90 ERA all-time against the White Sox.
The right-hander turned that around with a dominant outing. Aside from Thome s homer leading off the seventh, Verlander let only two runners get to third.
With Brian Anderson on third and one out in the sixth, Verlander retired Alexei Ramirez on a pop-up before striking out Jermaine Dye with a perfectly located, 98 mph fastball. With Chris Getz on third in the eighth inning, Verlander used a nasty curve to get Ramirez swinging.
Verlander had to be sharp to beat Danks (4-5), who gave up five hits and struck out seven in his best performance in six weeks. Danks had a 7.02 ERA over his previous eight starts.
Everett s second homer of the year snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth. Detroit went up 2-0 in the seventh when Danks walked Ryan Raburn with the bases loaded.
NOTES: It was the ninth straight quality start for Verlander, the longest streak by a Detroit pitcher since Justin Thompson had nine in 1997.... The Tigers used their second-round draft pick to select Oklahoma State left-hander Andrew Oliver, who successfully sued the NCAA earlier this year. An Ohio judge tossed out an NCAA rule preventing college ballplayers from hiring advisers who are in direct contact with big league clubs. The NCAA had suspended Oliver after he used an attorney in negotiations with the Minnesota Twins, who drafted him out of high school in 2006. Oliver, who opted to go to college instead of signing a pro contract, is now represented by Scott Boras.