CHICAGO – Hector Noesi looked strong early for the Chicago White Sox.
But once he had to face the Detroit Tigers lineup a second time through, he struggled.
The Tigers got all the runs they needed in the fourth, when Detroit scored four times against Noesi (0-2) and went on to defeat the White Sox 5-1 on Wednesday.
Noesi, making a spot start for Chicago, went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He breezed through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth in his first start of the season.
"We knew that was probably coming and we had a lot of guys ready in the pen," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Noesi's rough fourth inning. "But it just wasn't our day."
The White Sox bullpen, which has struggled in the first month of the season, allowed one more run in 5 1-3 innings.
Noesi, already on his third team of the year, entered the day with an 11.74 ERA and was one of five pitchers Chicago used Wednesday.
Noesi made it through the first inning scoreless, thanks in part to Adam Eaton running down a Torii Hunter drive to deep center and slamming into the wall, but still holding on to the ball.
That catch started a string of nine consecutive batters retired by Noesi, which ended when Hunter doubled to deep right-center field to lead off the fourth.
Hunter scored on Victor Martinez's sacrifice fly to center as part of a four-run fourth that also included Nick Castellanos' sacrifice fly to left, and Bryan Holaday's two-out, two-run double.
The runs in the fourth were too much for the White Sox to overcome as their normally potent lineup was held down by defending AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
Scherzer (3-1) threw six scoreless innings while winning his third straight start, allowing four hits and striking out seven. Scherzer became the first pitcher in team history with at least seven strikeouts in each of his first six starts.
Scherzer's strong outing helped the Tigers win for the fourth time in five games, and shut down the powerful White Sox offense for the second straight day.
Chicago had a chance to score in the third. Eaton walked with one out, advanced to second on Gordon Beckham's single and reached third on a Jose Abreu fielder's choice but was stranded when Adam Dunn struck out.
"He's great, he's always tough," Ventura said of Scherzer. "You get some guys on, you get opportunities and that's when good pitchers really show their stuff. He did that today. We at least got him a high pitch count and he couldn't get eight or nine innings. But, he's just tough."
On Tuesday, Justin Verlander and two relievers held the White Sox to seven hits in a 4-3 Detroit win. Scherzer and the Tigers continued that Wednesday against a team that started the day first in the American League in runs and second in home runs and slugging.
"There's 29 other managers that would like to be able to do that," Detroit's Brad Ausmus said of starting Verlander and Scherzer on consecutive days.
Detroit was one out away from its first shutout of the season, but Tyler Flowers' single off Evan Reed gave Chicago its run.
Alexei Ramirez went 1 for 4 to reach 40 hits, breaking Paul Konerko's White Sox franchise record of 39 hits through April, set in 2002.
"(Konerko) congratulated me in front of the dugout so I kind of lifted my helmet up and said 'Thanks,'" Ramirez said through an interpreter.
Notes: White Sox manager Robin Ventura said LHP Chris Sale is "feeling better" but a rehab start is a possibility if his recovery continues to be extended. Sale has been on the disabled list since April 22 — retroactive to April 18 — with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. Ventura also said RHP Felipe Paulino (right rotator cuff inflammation) will have a rehab assignment coming up "pretty soon." ... On Beckham's single, Eaton was originally ruled out at second after Hunter caught the ball on a short-hop and threw to second for a force. White Sox manager Robin Ventura successfully challenged the call that Eaton was out, for his first successful challenge of the year. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez, working his way back from a blister on his right middle finger, threw from flat ground prior to Wednesday's game. Manager Brad Ausmus described the session as something to "keep the shoulder muscles loose."