CHICAGO – Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander continued his mastery of the White Sox, helping the Tigers beat Chicago 7-1 on Friday.

Detroit, which won for the fifth time in six games, is a half-game behind first-place Kansas City in the American League Central. The Tigers are a game ahead of the Mariners in the battle for the second AL wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, Chicago has lost nine of 10.

Verlander (12-11) beat the White Sox for the 14th time in 18 decisions since June 10, 2009 — the most victories by any pitcher against one opponent in that span.

The former AL most valuable player allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings.

It was the first time this year Verlander, who has a 4.68 earned-run average, allowed fewer than two runs in a game. He matched his season high with eight strikeouts and walked two.

Notes

• The Los Angeles Angels extended their winning streak to four and their AL West lead to three games over second-place Oakland by beating the visiting Athletics 4-0. Winning pitcher Jered Weaver (15-7) is 8-1 over his last 14 starts.

• Injured ace Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees has general soreness in his right arm, a setback in the Japanese standout’s bid to rejoin the rotation this season.

Tanaka, 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first season in the majors, hasn’t pitched since July 8 as he recovers from a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He threw 49 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and said his arm was sore a day later.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it would be “maybe a week” until Tanaka throws his next bullpen session.

• Cleveland signed Russell Branyan, 38, to a minor-league deal for the remainder of the season. He has spent at least part of six seasons with the Indians and hit 31 homers for the Mariners in 2009.