CHICAGO (AP) — Gavin Floyd surrendered a run in the second, and three more in the sixth.
Not nearly good enough against the favorite for the AL Cy Young Award.
Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings to earn his major league-best 23rd victory and the Detroit Tigers blanked the Chicago White Sox 5-0 on Tuesday night for their 11th consecutive win.
Floyd (12-11) was charged with four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, falling to 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 17 career starts against Detroit.
“When you face a pitcher of that caliber you’ve got to get it done before he starts to make his pitch,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He throws every pitch in any count. The guy throws 98 and he’ll throw you a 3-2 breaking ball. I don’t think you can do much about that.”
Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer for AL Central-leading Detroit, buoyed by its longest winning streak since September 1968. Miguel Cabrera had two doubles, walked twice and scored two runs.
“I’ve said all year that we weren’t playing our best baseball,” Verlander said. “You look at the talent around this room, if everybody gets rolling it’s going to be tough to beat us. This last couple of weeks, it’s been an example of that.”
Verlander (23-5) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked two while becoming the first Tiger since Hal Newhouser in 1946 to win 11 consecutive starts and the AL’s first 23-game winner since Barry Zito in 2002.
Brent Morel doubled and walked twice for Chicago. Alex Rios had three singles, but the White Sox were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 5 for 45 in those situations over their last five games.
“We had first and third early in the game and we could have scored,” Guillen said. “And then we had the bases loaded a couple of times but we didn’t have the big hit.”
Cabrera doubled and scored in the second, and the Tigers added three more in the sixth. With one out and a runner on third, Cabrera was intentionally walked before Martinez sent a 3-2 pitch over the Detroit bullpen in right.
Martinez battled Floyd for nine pitches, fouling off five, before going deep in the game’s most important at-bat.
“(Martinez) kept fighting things off,” Floyd said. “I thought I made an OK pitch, especially 3-2, trying to not walk him there. He fought and he won the battle.”
Detroit has won five straight against the White Sox and reduced its magic number to win the Central to four over Cleveland and three to eliminate the White Sox. The Tigers have outscored Chicago 54-15 during the streak.
“They have a really good offense,” Floyd said. “They’ve been scoring a lot of runs and been playing good baseball.”
Verlander improved to 11-0 with a 2.51 ERA since his last loss on July 15 in Chicago, his only defeat in 15 decisions against AL Central opponents this season.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander worked out of jams in three of the first four innings. He got Dayan Viciedo on an around-the-horn double play with runners on the corners and one out in the first, then got Gordon Beckham to fly out with two on to end the second.
Verlander also struck out Beckham looking with a curveball with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth.
NOTES: The annual Roberto Clemente Award nominees were announced on Tuesday. Verlander and Chicago’s Juan Pierre were among the entrants for the award, which recognizes players for positive contributions both on and off the field. … The Tigers and White Sox wrap up their series on Wednesday afternoon, with Detroit’s Brad Penny facing Dylan Axelrod. The 25-year-old Axelrod will be making his second big league appearance and first start.
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