CHICAGO — Chris Sale overcame a shaky start to strike out a season-high 13, beating Max Scherzer in a matchup of All-Star aces and leading the Chicago White Sox past the Detroit Tigers 6-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and Tyler Flowers also went deep against Scherzer (15-5), who fanned 11 and walked none in 6 2-3 innings. But he was touched up for six runs, five earned, and nine hits.
Sale (11-3) struck out at least 10 for the 17th time in his career, tying Hall of Famer Ed Walsh for the franchise record. The left-hander reached that figure in 81 major league starts — Walsh made 312 for the White Sox from 1904-1916.
Sale allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. Jake Petricka pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler homered for the Tigers, who began the day with a one-game lead over Seattle for the second AL wild card.
Jose Abreu had three singles and his 98th RBI for the White Sox. He entered the day tied with Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the major league lead.
Chicago beat Scherzer for only the second time in his last 11 decisions. The right-hander had not allowed more than four runs in 12 consecutive starts.
The White Sox took a 5-3 lead in the third, when they turned four straight hits into four runs. After Alexei Ramirez's ground-rule double scored one run and Abreu's single brought home another, Dunn launched a two-run shot to right field.
Flowers hit a solo drive to give Chicago a 6-3 advantage one inning later.
After the Tigers tagged Sale for three runs in the first inning, the White Sox scored an unearned run in the bottom half. Adam Eaton led off with a single, moved to third on Scherzer's wild pickoff throw and scored on Kinsler's error at second base.
Kinsler hit the fourth pitch of the game into the left-field bullpen to give Detroit an early lead. The leadoff homer was his second in nine days and the 31st of his career. Torii Hunter followed with a base hit and, one out later, Martinez sent a two-run homer to left field.
Tigers: RHP Joakim Soria reported no complications one day after he tested his strained left oblique muscle on flat ground. "He feels (discomfort) at certain distances, but it has been a longer distance since he's felt it," manager Brad Ausmus said. "The last time he felt it, it was at 75 feet. This time it was at 90 feet." The hope is that Soria will be able to throw off a mound next week.
White Sox: Abreu shifted from 1B to DH and moved with a noticeable limp, the result of a right leg injury that manager Robin Ventura downplayed before the game. "It's his first time through (a 162-game schedule), and I think he is reacting to it for the first time," Ventura said. "Just talking to him, he understands it. ... He wants to be out there and play against the best players." Abreu has hit .385 since the All-Star break to move into Triple Crown contention, but he has only four home runs during that span.
Tigers LHP Kyle Ryan and White Sox RHP Chris Bassitt were set to make their major league debuts in the nightcap. Both were promoted from the minors for the game.