In the second week of June, with more than three months to go in baseball's regular season, the White Sox weren't about to hype the importance of the four-game series against the Tigers that began Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

But staying competitive against the American League Central leaders this week certainly wouldn't hurt the Sox's confidence given that they were coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels. And it wouldn't hurt their place in the standings either.

Thanks to some needed offensive outbursts, including a two-run homer from rookie first baseman Jose Abreu, the Sox took a step forward in the opener with a 6-5 victory over the Tigers. At 32-33, the Sox moved within 3 1/2 games of the Tigers.

"We'd prefer to win," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Does it make a difference in terms of determining whether we're a contender or not? No. What makes a difference is that we haven't been playing real good ball the last three days and no matter who the opponent is now, it's time to turn that around. ... Detroit gives us a barometer against a team that's been the class of our division."

Sox right-hander Hector Noesi entered Monday off his first victory in more than two years and he followed with his second this season. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, all of which came from three Tigers homers. Miguel Cabrera, Eugenio Suarez and Victor Martinez each hit homers, but Sox manager Robin Ventura said he thought Noesi has been throwing great, using an improved changeup to find more success.

Afterward, Noesi talked about the chance he has been given with his third club.

"Sometimes it's about trust, you know," Noesi said. "Like, I come here, and this team gives me the opportunity really fast. So I try to appreciate everything and do my work. Sometimes it's about, they believe in me that I have something good, so I try to show them that I can do this."

The top of the Sox's order — Adam Eaton, Gordon Beckham, Conor Gillaspie and Abreu — combined to go 9-for-18.