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First place on the line tonight for Sox-Tigers

CHICAGO – By the end of tonight the White Sox will be either two games ahead of Detroit or locked in a first-place tie with 19 games left in the regular season.

It will be up to first-year starter Chris Sale (16-6, 2.88 ERA) to help make sure the Sox still sit atop the division alone. Detroit leads the season series 12-5 and have won nine of the last 10 games against the Sox.

Sale has won eight straight games at U.S. Cellular Field, during which he owns a 1.20 ERA while opponents hit are hitting .178. In three starts against the Tigers this season, Sale is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA.

The Sox's offense will certainly be challenged tonight, facing Tigers' ace Justin Verlander (13-8, 2.91). Verlander has pitched well against the Sox in two starts this year, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA.

The Sox are without slugger Adam Dunn for a seventh straight game, still hampered by a strained right oblique.

Tigers starting lineup

1. Austin Jackson, CF2. Omar Infante, 2B3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B4. Prince Fielder, 1B5. Delmon Young, DH6. Jhonny Peralta, SS7. Avisail Garcia, LF8. Brennan Boesch, RF9. Gerald Laird, C

White Sox starting lineup

1. Alejandro De Aza, LF2. Kevin Youkilis, 3B3. Dewayne Wise, CF4. Paul Konerko, 1B5. Alex Rios, RF6. A.J. Pierzynski, C7. Dayan Viciedo, DH8. Alexei Ramirez, SS9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

-- Meghan Montemurro


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