While his stats weren't overly impressive, Justin Verlander earned the win in his return to the mound last weekend.
He'll try to build on that result Friday night as the Detroit Tigers open a four-game road series against the Chicago White Sox.
After missing one start due to soreness in his shoulder, Verlander (11-11, 4.82 ERA) returned to win 8-6 in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader at Minnesota. The right-hander yielded four runs, eight hits and three walks over 5 1-3 innings while striking out six.
"His arm action looked much freer than it did, much easier than it did (in his previous outing Aug. 11)," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website. "I think his fastball had more life."
Six of Verlander's last seven starts have come on the road, where he is 6-6 with a 5.13 ERA. The six-time All-Star is 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA in his last three outings in Chicago after giving up seven runs over 5 2-3 innings in an 8-2 defeat June 11.
Jose Abreu is 4 for 9 with two homers when facing Verlander, while Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo are a combined 13 for 31 against him since the start of last year.
The Tigers (72-60) have won four of five after taking two of three from the Yankees with a 3-2 walkoff win Thursday.
Alex Avila delivered an RBI single with two outs in the ninth for Detroit, which climbed within 1 1/2 games of the AL Central lead following Kansas City's loss to Minnesota later in the day.
"Momentum shifts are big in the game of baseball," Ausmus said after Phil Coke nearly served up a three-run homer in the top of the ninth. "It's not something you can put a statistic on. It's not very tangible. (But) the emotion in a singular game or over the course of a game can be important."
The Tigers would likely be in better position if not for splitting 12 meetings against the White Sox this year after going 37-18 over the previous three seasons.
Chicago (60-73) is coming off its eighth loss in nine games, 3-2 to Cleveland on Thursday. The White Sox have been outscored 46-27 while hitting .217 during the funk.
"It's never easy to be near the bottom of the division," losing pitcher John Danks said. "But guys are playing hard. It's not from a lack of effort or a lack of care. It's just we're not winning, not playing well enough. We're going to play every game to win it for 162, and we wish it was more."
Rookie Scott Carroll (5-8, 5.05) is looking to get on track after going 1-2 with a 7.61 ERA in four starts this month. The right-hander was tagged for five runs over six innings in Saturday's 5-3 loss at Yankee Stadium.
Opponents are hitting .367 against Carroll in his last four home starts, during which he's allowed 21 runs over 23 2-3 innings. This marks his first appearance against the Tigers.
Miguel Cabrera is batting .396 with two homers and nine RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak against the White Sox. Victor Martinez has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 in Chicago, batting .397 with five homers and 16 RBIs.
Martinez is hitting .382 with three homers and 17 RBIs in his last 15 overall.
Abreu is batting .383 with five homers, seven doubles and 11 RBIs against the Tigers.