The White Sox of old turned out to be the cure for what ails old Justin Verlander.
The Sox offense blew a couple of early opportunities, and the Sox defense blew a few plays in a five-run fifth that made the second half of this game a snoozer.
They pushed one run across the plate against Verlander on a first-inning Adam Dunn sac fly, and a walk to Conor Gillaspie loaded the bases, but Verlander came back to freeze Tyler Flowers on an outside-corner fastball to end the threat.
But the offense really came crashing to a halt after Alejandro De Aza smoked a double to the right-field corner to lead off the second, but paid the price for trying to stretch to a triple. That cleared the bases for Verlander, and made Adam Eaton's subsequent two-out double meaningless.
The run-prevention unit unraveled afterward. In the third, Scott Carroll gave up a one-out single followed by an RBI double to Ian Kinsler, who took third when the throw came home. A sac fly drove by Torii Hunter drove in Kinsler for a 2-1 lead, but that ugly sequence paled in comparison to whatever happened in the fourth.
It started when Jose Abreu booted Victor Martinez's grounder. J.D. Martinez followed with a double, and Victor came home on a fielder's choice to make it 3-1. Alex Avila re-started the rally with an RBI double, moved to third on a single, and scored when Abreu took his eyes off Ezequiel Carrera's high chopper for his second error of the inning.
Carroll had theoretically recorded three outs by this point, but he only had one to show for it, so the inning pressed on. One run came home on the fourth out (a fielder's choice), and a ground-rule double drove in another one to make it a 7-1 game, and a Miguel Cabrera fly to right ended the misery.
Verlander, on the other hand, settled down to throw seven innings of one-run ball -- the first time Verlander had allowed fewer than two runs in a start this season. Carroll was knocked out after five-plus, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, but only three of them were earned. If nothing else, we found out that there's a difference between the two pitchers after all.
*Eaton (3-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Abreu (3-for-3 with a double and a walk) are still chugging along at the plate. They need some help, because the rest of the lineup went.4-for-27.
*Alexei Ramirez didn't help matters, going 0-for-5 with five stranded in between. He did make a helluva play in the ninth inning to give the defense something to brag about.
*Ronald Belisario threw two perfect innings of relief, and Matt Lindstrom and Maikel Cleto kept the Tigers off the board in the last two innings.
*White Sox pitchers did not walk a batter tonight.