CHICAGO – Max Scherzer outpitched Chris Sale in a marquee matchup of All-Star starters, and the Detroit Tigers overcame Miguel Cabrera’s injury to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3 on Monday night.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cabrera was replaced at third base by Don Kelly. The 2012 AL MVP, who appeared to be holding his left side as he walked off the field, was removed with a sore hip flexor muscle and will be evaluated today.
Cabrera, who became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years last season, has played in 97 of Detroit’s 98 games this year. He began the day leading the AL with a .359 batting average and 96 RBI.
Scherzer (14-1) won his first 13 decisions before losing his last outing before he started the All-Star game for the American League last Tuesday night at Citi Field. He went eight innings Monday and gave up four hits while striking out five.
The right-hander, who didn’t allow a baserunner until Adam Dunn’s single with one out in the fifth, increased his league-leading strikeout total to 157.
The only two runs Scherzer gave up came on solo homers by Dayan Viciedo and Conor Gillaspie.
Victor Martinez had four hits and Torii Hunter homered in the seventh for Detroit, which lost two of three to Kansas City last weekend.
Sale followed Scherzer to the mound in the All-Star game and worked two scoreless innings. This time, the left-hander pitched eight innings and gave up four runs – two earned. He yielded seven hits while striking out 11.
Sale (6-9) has struck out at least 10 five times this season.
Chicago, which was trying to win three straight games for the first time since June 8-10, fell to 11-20 against AL Central teams. The White Sox gave up five unearned runs and made three more errors to reach 64 after committing 70 last year.
Scherzer entered with an average of 7.29 runs of support per start. Sale’s mark of 2.70 was the lowest in the majors.
Detroit singled twice with two outs in the third to take a 1-0 lead on Prince Fielder’s RBI single.
The Tigers scored two unearned runs in the fifth to make it 3-0 when Martinez singled up the middle with two outs, bringing in Hernan Perez and Cabrera.
Detroit scored three more unearned runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach, with pitcher Ramon Troncoso and Alexi Ramirez making errors.
Ramirez’s miscue, a throw that went out of play and allowed Brayan Pena to score from second on a pickoff play, was his second of the night and 16th of the season.