Rapid Reaction: White Sox 8, Tigers 2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox moved one game from a series sweep Wednesday night after an 8-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

How it happened: It took a few innings, but the White Sox finally got to Tigers starter Justin Verlander, knocking him from the game in a seven-run sixth inning. The former Cy Young Award winner, who has not been at his best this season, gave up seven runs on eight hits over 5⅔ innings while throwing 122 pitches. John Danks continued his recent run of success by giving up two runs on six hits over seven innings. Jose Abreu hit his 19th home run in the second inning, his second against Verlander this season.

What it means: Suddenly, the White Sox are 2.5 games behind the Tigers for the American League Central lead with more than 3½ months to play. That Chicago is merely 33-33 in the standings points to a watered-down division. But surely, the White Sox won’t apologize, because they don’t have to chase a dominant team. If the White Sox remain in contention by the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, they figure to make additions while still focusing on moves for the long term and not expensive quick fixes.

Outside the box: Not only did Abreu collect his 19th home run, he also reached the 50-RBI mark in his 52nd game of the season. Abreu is on pace for 47 home runs and 123 RBIs in his rookie season, even though he missed 15 days on the disabled list with an ankle injury. Abreu has 22 hits and six home runs in his past 13 home games.

Offbeat: Verlander has now given up five or more runs in five of his past six starts and has an 8.72 ERA over that stretch. It was the right-hander’s third start against the White Sox this season but the first time he lost to them. In back-to-back starts against the White Sox in April, he got a victory and a no-decision after giving up a combined five runs over 14 innings.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (5-0, 2.06 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the finale of the four-game series that was reduced to three games because of Tuesday’s rainout. The Tigers will counter with Max Scherzer (7-2, 3.38) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.