Verlander leads Tigers past White Sox 5-0

Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings to earn his major league-best 23rd win and the Detroit Tigers blanked the Chicago White Sox 5-0 on Tuesday night for their 11th consecutive victory.

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.

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.

Gavin Floyd (12-11) gave up 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.

Brent Morel doubled and walked twice for Chicago. Alex Rios had three singles.

Detroit has won five straight against the White Sox and reduced its magic number to win the Central to four over Cleveland. The Tigers have outscored Chicago 54-15 during the streak.

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.

Floyd walked the next two batters and threw a wild pitch before being pulled after 98 pitches.

For the second straight start, Verlander allowed a number of baserunners early in the game to drive up his pitch count, but settled down to pitch through the seventh. He has gone at least six innings and thrown at least 104 pitches in each of his 32 starts this season.

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, a front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award, 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.

The White Sox were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in the game, dropping to 5 for 45 in those situations over their last five games.

The Tigers have won 21 of their last 25 games.

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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Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham tags out the Detroit TigersÂ’ Miguel Cabrera stealing second during the fourth inning Tuesday. Associated Press
Miguel Cabrera, left, scores past White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers during the second inning Tuesday night. Associated Press