CHICAGO (AP) - Miguel Cabrera didn't have much of a chance to help Max Scherzer get his 20th win and the Detroit Tigers end their recent slump.
Just three batters into the first inning, Cabrera was ejected by home plate umpire Brian Gorman and Detroit went on to lose 5-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The reigning AL MVP and 2012 Triple Crown winner complained to Gorman that he had checked his swing on an 0-1 Sale pitch that struck him in the right knee.
Miguel Cabrera, center left, argues with umpire Brian Gorman, joined by Tigers manager Jim Leyland, center, after Cabrera was ejected during the first inning against the White Sox Monday.
"I tried to get out of the way and (Gorman) said I swung, I was too far out," Cabrera said. "I asked him how could he explain that. I don't know, I just tried to get out of the way. I told him that a couple of times."
Gorman countered, "(Cabrera) was told to stop arguing and continued to argue and he was ejected for continuing the argument."
Manager Jim Leyland ran out to defend his player and he was booted too.
"I guess I made my point a little too long and (Gorman) decided to run me and that's fine," Leyland said. "I wasn't questioning the calls at all. I just thought (Cabrera) was an unnecessary ejection."
Chris Sale (11-12) outpitched Scherzer, denying him a 20th victory. Sale gave up one run and four hits in eight innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions.
"We ran into a buzzsaw with Sale," Leyland said. "He was absolutely terrific."
Sale was heartened by Cabrera's ejection, but it didn't make his job any easier, either.
"I was kind of like 'thank you,' the best hitter to ever walk the planet leaving after the first," Sale said. "(But) it doesn't get any easier after that. You've still got to make pitches because they've got a heck of a lineup up and down."
Scherzer (19-3) gave up five runs and six hits in four innings as he lost consecutive starts for the first time this season after Boston beat him Sept. 3. It was Detroit's fifth loss in six games, dropping the Tigers' lead in the AL Central to 4 1-2 games over Cleveland.
"I just made too many mistakes, elevated the ball, it was too high, I wasn't able to get it down and it cost me," Scherzer said.
As for failing for the third straight time to get his 20th win, Scherzer shrugged.
"I'm not going to beat myself up over this outing," he said. "I've been pitching too well this year to do that. I'm just focused on what I can control and I just need to go out there and pitch the way I'm capable of."
Monday's game was the second meeting of the season between the All-Star pitchers. The first was on July 22, when Scherzer pitched eight innings and allowed two runs to beat Sale, who also went eight but was victimized by two unearned runs.