CHICAGO — After losing 12 times in 17 games to the contending Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox hit their Central Division rivals where it hurt on Tuesday night.
Jose Abreu hit his fifth homer in seven games, Miguel Gonzalez came off the disabled list to pitch 6 1/3 innings of six-hit ball and the White Sox cooled off the Tigers 2-0.
Detroit fell one game behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card and stayed 4 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the division.
“Always,” Gonzalez said when asked whether the outcome had more significance against a division foe. “We’re here to compete. We’re not going to give in until the last day of the season. That’s what we’re all about.”
The Tigers went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on in their fourth loss in 15 games.
Abreu connected off Matt Boyd (5-3) in the second for his 23rd homer as Chicago got its third win in nine games.
Gonzalez (3-6) struck out four in his first start since Aug. 11 following a groin injury.
“Gonzo was great,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I don’t know if you could expect much more out of him, coming off the DL and against a line-up like this, to be able to come back.”
Nate Jones retired four straight hitters before David Robertson worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth for his 34th save in 41 tries to complete the seven-hitter. J.D. Martinez led off with a drive down the left-field line, but a replay review ruled it to be a foul ball, not a home run.
“It was foul,” Robertson said. “I knew it right away. I needed one instant replay to go my way.”
Martinez followed with a single and Erick Aybar walked with one out, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped out and pinch-hitter Tyler Collins struck out in Detroit’s 10th shutout of the season.
Minor league call-up Jason Coats doubled in the fifth and scored on Omar Narvaez’s single as the White Sox improved to just 14-32 against the AL Central since May 23.
Gonzalez retired nine straight until allowing singles to Martinez and call-up Casey McGehee in the seventh. Dan Jennings came in and issued a walk to load the bases. Then Jennings struck out pinch-hitter Jacoby Jones and Nate Jones fanned Cameron Maybin to end the threat.
Boyd allowed two runs and eight hits while striking out six in seven innings. He has allowed three or fewer runs in his last 10 starts.
“The other guy was a few pitches better than me,” Boyd said. “Just got to be a little better.”
THE FUTURE IS NEAR
With the White Sox on the way to a fourth straight losing season, the status of Ventura and the direction of the team is uncertain.
“It’s not a situation any of us wanted to be in,” GM Rick Hahn said before the game. “But this is where we’re at and as a result we’re going to have to make some tough decisions over the coming weeks and months.”
With the Triple-A regular season ending Monday, both teams added players. The Tigers promoted 3B McGehee and OF Steven Moya from Toledo.
The White Sox called up OF Coats, INF Leury Garcia and RHP Blake Smith from Charlotte. Pitching prospects Zack Burdi and Carson Fulmer won’t join the team.
Tigers: 2B Ian Kinsler (finger) was still having trouble throwing and didn’t start. Manager Brad Ausmus said he’s likely out until Friday. … RHP Jordan Zimmermann (neck) was scheduled to start Saturday after being activated off the DL.
White Sox: A day after Ventura suggested struggling RHP James Shields (5-17, 6.07 ERA) could be shut down because of a bad back, Shields felt better and was expected to start Saturday.
The clubs meet for the 19th and final time Wednesday as White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (11-10, 3.05 ERA) faces RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.70).