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CWS@SEA: Danks fans 10 in shutout of Mariners

After his start Friday, Detroit pitcher Brad Penny admitted, "The sooner we clinch this thing, the better."

The Tigers can continue to take steps toward what many seem to believe is their inevitable clinching of the American League Central title with a three-game series against the second-place White Sox.

The Tigers, winners of nine straight -- their longest streak since May of their World Series championship year of 1984 -- and 19 of their last 23, come to Chicago with their magic number at seven. With each victory against the White Sox, the Tigers can knock two games off their magic number.

The division crown isn't the only thing the Tigers are fighting for, however. After the AL Central was billed by many as a second-tier division for much of the season, as of Sunday afternoon, the first-place Tigers suddenly sat only 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for home-field advantage and the best record in the AL.

Despite sweeping the White Sox over Labor Day weekend, Detroit's trip to Chicago doesn't figure to be a cakewalk. The White Sox are 6-2 in their last eight games, and manager Ozzie Guillen said his club is going to take a winning approach into the series.

"Same way. I'm not going to give back. We have to go strong," Guillen said. "I hope they don't approach us the same way they did out there. Guys have to go out there and play. We have to go there and finish strong, but I don't see anything different. I hope we pitch better."

Starting for the White Sox on Monday is John Danks, who has dropped his last two starts, one of which came against the Tigers on Sept. 2, when he allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. He'll be opposed by Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, who has allowed one run in two of his last three starts, but is 1-4 with a 7.46 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox.

Monday's game, as well as the entire series, likely will come down to which team gets on top first. Tigers relievers come into Monday's series opener with a 2.20 ERA and 103 strikeouts in their last 36 games, while the Sox 'pen entered Sunday with a 4-0, a 0.99 ERA and 46 strikeouts over the previous nine games at U.S. Cellular Field.

Tigers: Valverde sets mark
Closer Jose Valverde recorded his 43rd save of the season Sunday against the Twins, setting a new franchise mark for most saves in a single season. Valverde broke Todd Jones' record of 42 set in 2000.

• Center fielder Austin Jackson needs one more home run to become the 18th Tigers player to record double-digit totals in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases.

White Sox: Konerko nearing milestone
First baseman Paul Konerko needs one home run for his seventh 30-homer season and two RBIs for his sixth 100-RBI season. When he accomplishes the feat, he'll pass current Tigers player Magglio Ordonez for the second-most 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in franchise history, trailing only Frank Thomas, who did so eight times: 1991, 1993-97, 2000 and '03.

• Sergio Santos needs one save to become the eighth Chicago closer to record 30 saves in a season.

Worth noting
• Ordonez is hitting .500 (16-for-32) with two homers and four doubles in his career against Danks.

• Chicago's Dayan Viciedo has a seven-game hitting streak in which he's batting .321.

• The Tigers are hitting .325 with runners in scoring position since Aug. 11.

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