DETROIT – What was supposed to be a matchup of AL Central aces instead turned into a rough night for the Chicago White Sox.
Charlie Leesman, starting in place of an injured Chris Sale, allowed six runs in less than three innings, and the White Sox went on to lose 8-6 to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings for Detroit.
Sale was supposed to face Verlander, but the left-hander went on the disabled list before the game with a strained flexor muscle in his throwing arm.
"No offense to Charlie, but I'm sure those guys were pretty excited when they heard Chris was scratched," Chicago's Adam Dunn said. "That would be true no matter which pitcher we were sending out there instead of him."
Leesman's second career start did not go well. The Tigers hit the ball hard off him right from the start, and he allowed six runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings.
"I don't really know what happened. I don't walk guys, but when I was getting ahead of them tonight, I could never find the pitch to put them away," Leesman said.
"It's tough to replace Chris. I'm sure that people were looking forward to seeing Sale vs. Verlander, and then they were like, 'Who's Leesman?' But I'm out there taking it as seriously as anyone else. I had a job to do, and I didn't do it."
Cabrera was 4 for 23 on this homestand before going 3 for 5 on Tuesday — including a homer and a double off Leesman (0-1).
Verlander (3-1) had little to worry about after allowing a first-inning homer to Jose Abreu. He allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out seven and walking two.
Chicago's Dayan Viciedo had a career-high four hits, and Dunn hit a two-run homer in the ninth to pull the White Sox within two. Joba Chamberlain got the final out for his first save, retiring Alexei Ramirez on a liner to left with one on.
Ian Kinsler doubled twice for the Tigers, who sent 10 men to the plate in a five-run third inning.
Cabrera improved his average to .235 on the season and at least momentarily calmed concerns about his early slump. After Kinsler's double in the first, Cabrera lined a double of his own to the wall in right-center field, tying the game at 1.
Kinsler added a two-run double in the third, and Cabrera followed with a drive to right that Viciedo seemed to have measured at first. With the wind blowing out much of the night, the ball carried just over the wall to put the Tigers up 5-1.
It was Cabrera's second home run of the year, and it came on the first pitch.
"In that situation, you've got to come aggressive and try to get a good pitch to hit," Cabrera said.
Nick Castellanos added a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and Detroit scored two more runs in the fifth when Alex Avila hit an RBI double and scored on a double by Rajai Davis to make it 8-1.
It was 8-3 entering the ninth, and Detroit's Phil Coke struck out the first two hitters of the inning, but Marcus Semien doubled, Paul Konerko hit an RBI single and Dunn homered to right.
Chamberlain came on and walked Viciedo before J.D. Martinez caught Ramirez's liner.
Abreu opened the scoring in the first with a drive that cleared the wall in center for his sixth homer of the season. Verlander did not have a perfect inning all night, but he kept the White Sox from stringing too many hits together, and his Detroit teammates gave him more than enough run support.
NOTES: Every starter in the Detroit lineup had at least one hit. The Tigers finished with 15. ... Leesman's previous start came last season, when he also made seven relief appearances for the White Sox and finished with an ERA of 7.04. ... Detroit LHP Drew Smyly (1-1) faces Chicago RHP Andre Rienzo (0-0) on Wednesday night.