Though the White Sox caught Detroit on Tuesday without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, the Tigers proved their lineup is still potent even when the most dangerous hitter in baseball is sitting in the dugout.
Jhonny Peralta and Hernan Perez both had two hits and two RBIs and Victor Martinez added a double during Detroit's 6-2 win, the club's third straight victory. After dropping two in a row, the White Sox need to win Wednesday to keep the possibility of a four-game split alive. They'll send John Danks (2-7, 4.52 ERA) to the mound, opposite Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (7-7, 2.85 ERA).
Danks owns a 3.06 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in five starts at U.S. Cellular Field this season, though the left-hander has been knocked around by Detroit in past outings. Across 16 career appearances against the Tigers, Danks has accumulated a 5.36 ERA while witnessing firsthand what sort of problems they can present.
"I don't have the stuff to go out there and punch out everybody, and I certainly can't beat myself," Danks said. "I can't be walking people. I've got to make them earn their way on, but with that said, you've got to be smart about it, too. You can get burned pretty quick by this lineup. So, we're going to be aggressive, but try to be as smart and efficient as possible."
In 19 July contests, Martinez is batting .416 (32-for-77) with nine doubles, two homers, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He leads the American League with 32 hits during the month.
"I think he's really concentrated on seeing the ball better and that's obvious because he's not swinging at nearly as many bad pitches," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's getting in the strike zone and when he does that, he's a great hitter. There's no question about it."
Tigers: Miggy absent for second time all season
Tuesday's game was just the second contest this season in which Cabrera did not play. He left during the fifth inning on Monday, aggravating a sore left hip flexor muscle while scoring on a single by Martinez. Leyland did not comment on the possibility of Cabrera going on the disabled list or the club's concern moving forward.
"It felt weird," Cabrera said Monday. "It felt real weird. That base hit that Victor had, I tried to pick it up a little bit from second to home. That's why I had to go out."
Cabrera, last year's American League Most Valuable Player, leads the Major Leagues with a .358 batting average and ranks second in the AL with 31 homers and 96 RBIs.
"He's the MVP, and we need him out there if we're going to win this AL Central," right-hander Max Scherzer said. "Because if not, the Indians are very good and they can chase us down. No matter what the situation is, we gotta play our best baseball in the second half."
White Sox: Crain making progress in recovery
Reliever Jesse Crain, a first-time All-Star who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 30 with a right shoulder strain, threw off the mound Tuesday and, after a scheduled side session on Thursday, could return to game action as early as Sunday.
"His health is still our foremost thing in our mind to make sure he is well," Don Cooper, the White Sox pitching coach, said Tuesday. "We want to do it to the point where he's maybe a tad fatigued, making sure you've got that good workout in and feel good before, during and after. Now we're waiting on the after, which is tomorrow."
Crain threw just fastballs and changeups on Tuesday. He'll have to prove that he can throw breaking balls before returning to the White Sox. Over 38 games, Crain has a 0.74 ERA and 46 strikeouts across 36 2/3 innings.
• The White Sox committed four errors in Tuesday's defeat, giving themselves 68 on the season. Among AL teams, only the Angels and Astros have more.
• The Tigers (55-44) lead the American League Central. Chicago (39-58) is in last place, 15 games back.
• Detroit is 3-2 against the White Sox in 2013 and has taken 34 of the 47 most recent meetings, dating back to 2010.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.