A week ago, it looked like the Detroit Tigers were going to run away in the AL Central. After three straight losses, that isn't looking so certain.
Sale whiffed eight and walked just one while his teammates were building a lead off Detroit starter, Max Scherzer, who failed, for the third straight time, to win his 20th game, dropping his record to 19-3. Scherzer allowed four earned runs in four innings, his shortest outing of the season, but managed to strike out six, giving him 215 on the season, second-most in the AL. Sale is right behind him, with 207. Both are chasing Texas hurler, Yu Darvish, who leads both leagues with 246 Ks.
With Detroit's loss and Cleveland's 4-3 win over Kansas City, the Tiger lead in the division has shrunk to just 4 1/2 games. The Tigers have the benefit of a soft schedule, however. With 18 games left to play, 11 of them are against the White Sox, Twins and Marlins, three of the weakest squads in the majors.
The Tigers will try to end their mini-skid Tuesday night, when they meet the White Sox in game two, at 8:10 pm EDT.
Gio Gonzalez had a no-hitter through six innings, but Zach Lutz, a call-up from AAA Las Vegas, knocked a pinch hit single to right leading off the seventh inning, spoiling the effort for the Washington hurler.
That was to be the Mets' only hit of the night, as Gonzalez put down the next eight straight, walked Lutz with two down in the ninth, and got Andrew Brown on a fly ball to right to end it.
Washington staked Gonzalez to a 2-0 lead on first-inning, solo homers by Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman, then added seven more from the third through fifth innings for the 9-0 whitewash. Gonzalez (10-6) walked two, fanned eight and needed 110 pitches for his second career shutout and first of the 2013 season.
The win was the third straight for Washington, but they still trail the Braves by 12 games in the NL East and are seven behind Cincinnati for the second wild card.
The series continues Tuesday night at 7:10 pm EDT at Citi Field in New York.
Today's Trivia: Who had more doubles during their major league career, Mike Schmidt or Barry Bonds? (answer tomorrow)
Yesterday's Answer: The Angels won 100 games in 2008. The Yankees won 101 in 2003 and 2004, and 103 in 2009.