LIVE: Sox trail big, being shut out by Verlander

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LIVE: Sox trail big, being shut out by Verlander

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 9:07 a.m.

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(AP) -- Things have gone so well for Justin Verlander, even when he's not at his best he still manages to find a way to win.

The right-hander tries to become the first Tiger in 65 years to win 11 straight starts while looking to help AL Central-leading Detroit to an 11th consecutive victory Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Verlander (22-5, 2.44 ERA) added to his major league-leading win total in Wednesday's 8-6 victory at Cleveland despite giving up a pair of two-run homers to Shelley Duncan in six innings.

"My stuff was not as crisp as it has been," said Verlander, whose 22 wins are the most by a Tiger since Joe Coleman won 23 in 1973. "Once again, our team came through in a huge way."

Verlander's effort was good enough to pad his Cy Young Award resume by improving to 10-0 with a 2.75 ERA since losing at Chicago on July 15. He has a chance to become the first Tiger since Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser in 1946 to win 11 consecutive starts.

Two wins during Verlander's current undefeated run have come against the White Sox (73-73). After he gave up four runs in eight innings of a 5-4 victory at U.S. Cellular Field on July 26, Verlander allowed one in 7 1-3 innings of an 8-1 home win Sept. 2.

"He pretty much went through us any way he wanted," White Sox left fielder Juan Pierre said of Verlander's latest outing against them.

Verlander looks to help the Tigers (85-62) win 11 in a row for the first time since Sept. 9-21, 1968, after they trimmed their magic number to five in the Central with a 14-4 rout of the White Sox on Monday. Detroit holds a 49-15 scoring advantage during a four-game winning streak over Chicago.

"I don't know if there is a hotter team out there right now," losing pitcher John Danks said. "It's embarrassing but at the same time you have to realize how good they're playing."

Ryan Raburn and Jhonny Peralta each homered and drove in three runs for Detroit, which has averaged 8.4 runs during the 10-game winning stretch. Magglio Ordonez singled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and the former White Sox slugger has hit .381 during that stretch.

Austin Jackson is 30 for 75 (.400) during a 16-game hitting streak versus Chicago.

Raburn, who had four hits, is batting .340 (16 for 47) with four homers and 16 RBIs against the White Sox this season. He's hit .375 (12 for 32) against scheduled starter Gavin Floyd (12-10, 4.35).

The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts since losing to New York on Aug. 3. He allowed a run in 5 2-3 innings but did not factor in the decision of an 8-1 win at Cleveland on Thursday.

Floyd is 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 starts against the Tigers.

Brent Morel hit a pair of solo homers Monday for the White Sox, who have lost four of six. All four of Morel's hits in his last 15 at-bats have left the park.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. Allrights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”