DETROIT (AP) — Don’t blame the starting rotation for this long losing streak by the Chicago White Sox.
“We can’t get across home plate, and that makes it tough to win a game,” manager Robin Ventura said.
Max Scherzer took a shutout into the eighth inning before being pulled, and the Detroit right-hander became baseball’s first 16-game winner when the Tigers held on for a 3-0 victory over the punchless White Sox on Saturday night. Chicago has lost nine straight.
The White Sox got another solid start that they failed to take advantage of. The Chicago starters have a 2.72 ERA during this skid.
John Danks (2-9) allowed six hits in seven innings, including solo homers by Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta and Jose Iglesias.
The White Sox have scored two runs in their last three games.
Scherzer (16-1) allowed three hits in 7 2-3 innings. Jose Veras got the third out of the eighth, and Joaquin Benoit finished for his 12th save in 12 chances.
“It is pretty tough to do much against Scherzer right now,” Ventura said. “He’s just got too much stuff. He can throw all of his off-speed pitches exactly where he wants them, and you can’t tell them apart from his fastball. So you are watching for the break, and you don’t have a chance to catch up to his velocity.”
Chicago pinch-hitter Jordan Danks hit a long flyball in the eighth that center fielder Austin Jackson caught at the wall in left-center. When Veras came in, Alexei Ramirez jack-knifed out of the way on his first pitch — only to have the breaking ball drop across the heart of the plate for a strike.
The Tigers have won 11 of 12, despite playing most of that stretch without slugger Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera has been bothered by hip and abdominal problems and sat out Saturday.
“I’ve always said that we have so much talent in this clubhouse,” Scherzer said. “Miggy’s a big part of it, but even without Miggy, there’s plenty of guys in here that are very capable of dominating in the major leagues.”
Scherzer is the first pitcher to win at least 16 of his first 17 decisions since Roger Clemens started 16-1 in 2001, according to STATS. Scherzer walked three and struck out six — he’s now a strikeout short of 1,000 for his career.
Scherzer has been the beneficiary of a lot of run support this year, but he didn’t need much against the White Sox. Hunter opened the scoring with a homer to left in the first. Peralta — who faces a possible suspension from Major League Baseball’s drug investigation — made it 2-0 with a drive to the bushes beyond the center-field wall in the second.
Iglesias, acquired just before the trade deadline — partly as insurance against a possible suspension to Peralta — added a homer of his own in the fourth.
“After the fourth inning, I figured the only thing I could do was try to get deep enough into the game that we wouldn’t burn up the bullpen,” Danks said. “I’ve been working on trying to keep the ball in the park, but I didn’t get that done tonight. They were all solo shots, but that didn’t matter.”
This was the second game with the Tigers for Iglesias. He hit one homer in 63 games for Boston this season.
NOTES: Chicago has requested waivers on OF Dewayne Wise for the purpose of granting his unconditional release. Wise has been on the DL since May 30 with a strained right hamstring and right oblique strain. … Detroit tries for a three-game sweep Sunday, with RHP Rick Porcello (8-6) taking the mound against Chicago RHP Andre Rienzo (0-0).