By MATT CARLSON/Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) – Rick Porcello pitched his first career complete game, Prince Fielder homered among his four hits and the Detroit Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Alex Avila added four hits and two RBIs as AL Central-leading Detroit’s offense finally got rolling against the sloppy White Sox, allowing the Tigers to increase their lead over Cleveland to 5 1/2 games.
Porcello (12-8) scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked one. The 24-year-old right-hander retired 14 straight after Chicago scored its only run in the fourth.
Five of Detroit’s runs were unearned, thanks to four Chicago errors, including three by third baseman Conor Gillaspie. Another was charged to first baseman Paul Konerko, when Gillaspie’s wide throw ticked off his glove.
The Tigers entered Tuesday having lost five of six and having scored only 14 runs in September – excluding their 16-run barrage on Friday at Kansas City. Detroit is trying to hold off the Indians to earn its third straight division title after winning the American League pennant in 2012.
White Sox prospect Erik Johnson (0-2) was roughed up again and hurt by shoddy fielding in his second career start. He lasted just 3 2-3 innings, allowing six runs – two earned – on seven hits and three walks.
Chicago, in last place in the AL Central, has lost 10 of 12.
Porcello recovered from his worst outing of the season last Wednesday, when the Tigers were hammered 20-4 at Boston and he gave up nine runs in five innings.
Suspended Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta will work out with the Tigers before Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, GM Dave Dombrowski announced before the game. But no decision has been made to activate the two-time All-Star, who is eligible to return on Sept. 27 for the Tigers’ final three regular-season games in Miami.
Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 as part of its investigation into a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Peralta was hitting .305 with 11 home runs when he was suspended, and has been working out in the Dominican Republic since then.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first on a pair of unearned runs.
Andy Dirks scored and Miguel Cabrera advanced to second on Gillaspie’s first throwing error. Following a single by Fielder, the lumbering Cabrera scored from third on Victor Martinez’s sac fly.
Detroit added three more runs – two unearned – after two outs in the third to increase its lead to 5-0.
Fielder lined a homer just inside the right field foul pole to make it 3-0. Following a single, walk and error charged to Konerko on Gillaspie’s throw, Avila singled in two more unearned runs.
Fielder singled in another run in the fourth to make it 6-0. Gillaspie singled in a run in the bottom of the inning to cut it to 6-1.
Avila scored in the fifth on Gillaspie’s second throwing error to extend Detroit’s lead to 7-1. The Tigers added two runs in the ninth of Daniel Webb, Chicago’s fourth reliever.
NOTES: Fielder had his second four-hit game of the season and Avila his second four-hit game of his career. Cabrera went 0 for 5. The Tigers have lost four games in a row only twice this season, in April and in May. . Chicago’s four errors tied a season high. . White Sox OF Avisail Garcia was back in the lineup after getting two teeth pulled Monday. . In his two starts, Johnson has allowed 11 runs, but just five earned, in 9 2-3 innings.
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