‘‘First place” isn’t something the White Sox care to talk about just yet, even though the standings will show that the Sox lead the American League Central after defeating the Detroit Tigers 5-1 on Saturday.
‘‘Detroit had some big [winning] series early on,” first baseman Paul Konerko said of the defending division champions, who opened the season 5-0 but are now 5-3. ‘‘Sometimes you catch a team in a lull. The start of the season is the first two months, but we’re going about it right, not thinking too many big things. That’s a good thing now. It’s the way it should be. Everyone has a job to do and taking it upon themselves to do it right.”
It has started with the starting rotation, which has delivered four quality starts, the latest by Gavin Floyd (1-1), who held the Tigers scoreless for six innings. He yielded three hits but walked three and hit three. He also struck out six, including Alex Avila to end the sixth and leave the bases loaded.
The success extends to the bullpen, which has a 1.96 ERA. Brennan Boesch’s solo homer in the eighth off Jesse Crain was the ÂTigers’ only run. The Sox also turned three double plays and hit three home runs.
Konerko hit the team’s third homer. He has 397 for his career, tying Joe Carter for 51st on the all-time list.
‘‘I’ll think about it when I’m done playing,” Konerko said of the impending 400 milestone. ‘‘But for now, it’s just another homer. I just want to prepare every day the right way.”
That has been the mantra of manager Robin Ventura, who is taking a four-game winning streak against the AL Central in stride.
‘‘These are the guys you’re going against for the playoffs and it’s nice to start off this way, but it’s April,” he said. ‘‘For right now, I like the feel of the team and how they come prepared every day to play. It’s nice to be 4-0 in your division, but it’s how they come prepared every day.”
Floyd showed composure when he got into trouble in the second and sixth. The Tigers loaded the bases with walks and hit batters in both innings. The only hit in the innings was a leadoff double by Austin Jackson in the sixth, but he was stranded at third.
‘‘He pitched great, pounding the zone and being aggressive early,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. ‘‘More importantly the pitches he missed, he missed in good spots because they were effective in setting up the next pitch. Against that lineup, you don’t want to make mistakes over the plate.”
Flowers helped the cause with a homer in the fifth off rookie starter Adam Wilk (0-1), who left in the sixth with a bruised left shoulder.
Alexei Ramirez also homered off Wilk.
‘‘It’s always nice to [beat] Cleveland [two games early in the week] and now two against the Tigers, who have done a number on us in the past,” Floyd said. ‘‘But it’s a long season and we have to continue to get wins.
‘‘We’ve had some good pitching in our starting rotation and the bullpen. We feed off each other and energize each other. We have to keep trying to win.”
The Sox have a chance to sweep the three-game series Sunday. A five-game winning streak would equal their longest of 2011.
‘‘It’s always nice to beat division rivals, but that’s a solid team,” Flowers said of the Tigers. ‘‘Today was one of the most stressful games I’ve had calling pitches. I give most of the credit to our pitchers.
‘‘But we’re playing right and playing as a team. We have a little momentum going our way.”