Justin Verlander shut down the White Sox after the third inning, and the Detroit Tigers backed their ace with timely hitting in a 4-2 victory over Chicago on Friday night in the opener of a big three-game series.
Detroit inched closer to the top of the AL Central. The Tigers trail the first-place White Sox by a half-game. Detroit was six back after a loss to the Chicago Cubs on June 12.
Verlander (11-5) allowed four hits in eight innings, including a two-run homer in the third by Alejandro De Aza. He struck out six and walked two. Jose Valverde finished for his 18th save in 22 chances.
Jake Peavy (7-7) struck out the first five batters he faced and seven overall, but Detroit scored three runs in the third.
Peavy went seven innings, allowing four runs and eight hits - five during Detroit's big third inning. Jhonny Peralta led off with a double but had to stay at second on Ramon Santiago's single because the ball was nearly caught on the fly by right fielder Alex Rios.