Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (37) (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - The fifth time was the charm.
Tigers' right-hander Max Scherzer finally won his 20th game of the season on Friday night at Comerica Park, as the Tigers inched closer to another American League Central crown.
Scherzer picked up the win in familiar fashion: He pitched a quality start and received plenty of run support in a 12-5 win over the White Sox.
It was Scherzer's 24th quality start in 31 starts this season. He entered the game with the fifth-best run support in the major leagues.
And that continued early and often in the series-opening win vs. Chicago.
The Tigers put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard in four of the first five innings and chased White Sox spot starter Dylan Axelrod early.
In the first inning, Andy Dirks singled home a pair of runs. In the second, Torii Hunter doubled home a run. And in the third, run-scoring singles from Alex Avila, Hunter and Miguel Cabrera pushed the Tigers' lead out of reach against the last-placers.
Scherzer, meanwhile, continued to sail the steady ship that has made him the front-runner for the AL Cy Young.
He pitched six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, struck out three - his lowest total all season - and walked one.
He allowed a first-inning run and a two-run home run to former Tiger Avisail Garcia in the fourth.
With the win, Scherzer becomes the 24th pitcher in Tigers history to record at least 20 wins in a season.
After opening up a 7-3 lead halfway through, Detroit tacked on five more runs in the fifth inning against White Sox reliever David Purcey.
Prince Fielder singled home two runs, Victor Martinez homered home two runs and Omar Infante tripled to score Andy Dirks.
The Tigers pounded out 18 hits in the win. Hunter had four, and six Tigers finished with multiple.
Their magic number in the AL Central drops to three with the win.
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.