Chicago White Sox

Axelrod struggles as White Sox fall to Tigers

Teammates console Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod after he was pulled during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Teammates console Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod after he was pulled during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT – A night after going 6 for 6, the White Sox’s Alex Rios was hitless.

Instead, the Detroit Tigers did the slugging, especially early on.

Prince Fielder homered, Rick Porcello pitched six solid innings and the Tigers bounced back Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the Sox, who had 23 hits in an 11-4 win in Detroit on Tuesday.

Fielder lined a two-run shot to right field in the first inning for his 16th homer of the year. The Sox’s Dylan Axelrod (3-6) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 5⅔ innings.

“Ax wasn’t sharp, and that’s a tough lineup to face when you don’t have your best stuff,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “His velocity was down all night, and he wasn’t getting much from his pitches. When you do that against the Tigers, they will squeeze you, make you throw the ball over the plate and then they beat you.”

Alex Avila’s two-run single in the third put Detroit ahead 5-1.

Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham homered for the Sox. Porcello (6-6) allowed three runs and seven hits. Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances.

Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez had three hits each for Detroit. Cabrera’s run-scoring single in the sixth pushed his major league-leading RBI total to 93.

The Sox never led Wednesday. After Gillaspie’s homer in the second, the Tigers made it 3-1 on Austin Jackson’s RBI triple in the bottom of the inning.

“Everything felt normal, and I didn’t feel like my velocity was down, but I saw the numbers out there, and you can’t throw the ball past major league hitters if you are only throwing 84 or 85,” Axelrod said. “I don’t know if the gun was off, or if I just didn’t have anything on the ball.”

Axelrod’s problems continued in the third when Avila lined a single to right with the bases loaded. The ball landed just in front of a diving Rios, and two runs came home.

“I thought I was making good pitches early, but they were getting a bat on everything, and when that team gets runners on base, they are pretty good at driving them in,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod has allowed 29 earned runs in 28 innings in his last six starts.

Porcello won his second straight start — he blanked Cleveland for seven innings last week. Chicago scored twice in the fourth on an RBI single by Dayan Viciedo and a sacrifice fly by Beckham, but right fielder Torii Hunter made a diving, back-handed catch on Beckham’s hit to prevent further damage.

“It was a great catch,” Porcello said. “Torii’s been making great plays like that all year — you almost come to expect it.”

Porcello struck out six without a walk.

Detroit added three runs in the sixth on consecutive RBI singles by Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez. That made it 8-3, but Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon allowed Beckham’s homer and an RBI double by Alexei Ramirez in a shaky seventh.

It was the second homer of the year for Beckham, who had an operation on his left hand earlier this season.

“The more time he gets away from that surgery, the more power we are seeing from him,” Ventura said. “The best thing about him this year, and we started to see it at the end of last year, is that he’s having good at-bats almost every time he comes to the plate.”

Drew Smyly worked a perfect eighth for Detroit, and Benoit overcame two ninth-inning walks to close it out.

NOTES: All eight of Detroit’s runs came with two out. ... Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Chicago left-hander Chris Sale (5-8) faces Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez (7-5) on Thursday.

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