CHICAGO (AP) — Justin Verlander got his 14th win and Wilson Betemit had a two-out, go-ahead single in the eighth inning Tuesday night as the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 and increased their lead in the AL Central.
Verlander (14-5), beaten by the White Sox 11 days ago in Detroit, allowed four runs and seven hits in eight innings, including two-run homers to Adam Dunn in the first and Paul Konerko in the sixth. Verlander, who threw 125 pitches, came back to strike out Konerko and Dunn with a runner on in the eighth.
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 27th save in as many chances.
Detroit leads the division by two games over Cleveland and the third-place White Sox are 4 1-2 games out.
Will Ohman (0-2) issued a leadoff walk to Victor Martinez in the eighth and pinch-runner Andy Dirks stole second with Jesse Crain pitching. With two outs, Matt Thornton replaced Crain and Betemit — recently acquired from Kansas City — fouled off four pitches before hitting an RBI single to center.
Konerko’s two-run homer, his 24th of the season and second in as many games, tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth and came right after the Tigers had scored three in the top of the inning.
Brennan Boesch’s bunt single got the Tigers started in the sixth. Magglio Ordonez followed with his second single of the game and Miguel Cabrera delivered with a bloop single to right to tie the game 2-2. Martinez then lined a single to right — Detroit’s fourth straight hit — to put the Tigers ahead. Jhonny Peralta followed with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 4-2. After a double by Betemit, Chicago starter Jake Peavy intentionally walked Alex Avila to load the bases before striking out Austin Jackson.
Cabrera singled in a run in the fourth inning before Peavy pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.
Peavy allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings and is still winless in five starts since he pitched four innings of relief against the Nationals on June 25.
Dunn, who was 9 for 90 in his previous 25 games, fouled off three pitches before connecting on a 3-2 pitch from Verlander, sending the ball 436 feet into the bleachers in right-center field to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He struck out in his next three at-bats.
Notes: Verlander had given up seven hits and five runs — four earned — in six innings while losing to the White Sox in first start after the All-Star break on July 15. … Chicago is 14-20 against the AL Central. … The Tigers outrighted the contract of veteran 3B Brandon Inge to Triple-A Toledo. Inge was designated for assignment last week after the Tigers acquired Betemit. Inge was batting just .177 with one home run in 70 games this season.