CHICAGO — Miguel Cabrera was removed in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 2 on Saturday after driving in a run to put the Tigers ahead, 5-0.
The Tigers went on to beat the White Sox, 8-4, at U.S. Cellular Field to split the day-night doubleheader.
The win, coupled with the Royals' 3-2 loss at home to the Indians in 11 innings, ties Detroit and Kansas City atop the AL Central standings at 74-61. The teams play each other six more times next month.
Cabrera was credited with an RBI on his ground out to the pitcher in the top of the fourth inning. Cabrera was unsuccessful in his attempt to leg out a hit, and continues to deal with a sore right ankle that has bothered him, on and off, all season.
Cabrera was 0-for-3 after the groundout and his batting average dipped to .299 for the season.
Cabrera went 1-for-7 with four strikeouts on the day. His hit in his final at-bat in a 6-3 loss in Game 1 snapped a 0-for-15 slump. He struck out three times in Game 1, the first time he had three strikeouts in a game this season.
After the game, Cabrera waved off reporters: "Talk to the trainer or the manager."
The second game featured a battle of starting pitchers each making their major league debut.
Left-hander Kyle Ryan pitched six shutout innings for the Tigers. He allowed five hits and two walks and had one strikeout. He had 11 groundouts.
"He had a great outing," Ausmus said. "The biggest thing is he's got a funky delivery. Turns his back a little bit to the hitters. ... I think the deception in his delivery creates issues for hitters."
Ausmus said Ryan will be optioned out, but will be recalled on Tuesday. Ryan has 72 hours to report, but in the meantime he can't be in the dugout or on the field with the Tigers.
Ryan had two on with one out with a 2-0 count against former Tiger Avisail Garcia in the first inning.
Ryan got Garcia to ground into a double play.
"My two-seamer was running off the plate," Ryan said. "I was just focusing on throwing one down the middle. It ended up going down the middle and tailing at the last minute and thankfully he grounded into a double play. That was pretty nice."
Ezequiel Carrera doubled to lead off the third for the Tigers' first hit of the game. Carrera came home on an RBI single by Rajai Davis. Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers added three more runs in the fourth. Kinsler had a two-run single to on a ground ball to center and Cabrera knocked in Davis.
Right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt, who had never pitched above Double-A before starting for the White Sox, allowed seven hits, four walks and five runs over 61⁄3 innings with four strikeouts.
The White Sox were able to pull to within a run, 5-4, in the eighth inning.
Lefty Blaine Hardy gave up a leadoff walk to White Sox centerfielder Adam Eaton in the bottom of the eighth. Right-hander Jim Johnson replaced Hardy and gave up a double to left after a 10-pitch at-bat by Alexei Ramirez. Hardy then gave up a walk to Jose Abreu to load the bases with no outs.
Joba Chamberlain replaced Johnson. He got Garcia to ground into a force, which allowed Eaton to score. Chamberlain then gave up a three-run home run to Dayan Viciedo on a 2-0 count.
The Tigers answered with three runs in the top of the ninth.
Kinsler and Nick Castellanos singled off Maikel Cleto and Javy Guerra hit Victor Martinez with a pitch to load the bases with one out. J.D. Martinez hit a sac fly to score Kinsler and Alex Avila followed with an RBI single. Don Kelly doubled to right to bring home another run for an 8-4 lead before Avila was thrown out at the plate.
Carrera was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Kelly was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Kinsler was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
"Zeke swung the bat real well tonight," Ausmus said of Carrera said. "Had some key hits. Kins had some key hits."