The Detroit Tigers stumbled over the weekend with a series loss to the lowly Kansas City Royals. They’ll try to bounce back against another of the AL Central’s lesser teams Monday when they begin a five-game set against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Detroit, which is 12-5 this month, lost two of three over the weekend to the Royals, dropping Sunday’s series finale 5-2. The Tigers (58-38) tried to make a comeback in the ninth inning after Magglio Ordonez hit an RBI double to put two runners on with no outs, but Detroit failed to bring in another run.
It was the Tigers’ first series defeat since losing two of three to Minnesota from June 29-July 1.
“I have no complaints,” manager Jim Leyland said. “We had a little shot in the ninth inning, but we couldn’t get it done.”
With the Royals’ win on Sunday and Chicago’s 8-5 loss to Boston later in the day, the White Sox (43-54) fell into a last-place tie with Kansas City. It’s the latest they have been in last since the final day of the 1989 season.
Chicago was outscored 29-10 in the final three games of its series with the Red Sox after opening the set with a 4-2 win on Thursday.
“You can’t afford to make a whole lot of mistakes and fall behind on them,” Jim Thome said. “We had a couple situations late in the game where we could have tied it or even went ahead, but they’re solid.”
After finishing its road trip with a 4-7 record, Chicago returns to U.S. Cellular Field, where it has the fewest home wins in the majors (19).
The White Sox now turn to Mark Buehrle (7-5, 2.91 ERA), who has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last eight starts. The left-hander gave up one run and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings to beat Cleveland 5-1 on Wednesday.
Monday will be Buehrle’s first start at home since signing a four-year, $56 million extension on July 8.
“At the beginning they might give me a standing ovation or applaud me for getting something done or signing back,” Buehrle told the White Sox’s official Web site of what he expects from the crowd. “Ultimately, it comes down to how you pitch during the game.”
Buehrle is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts at home this season. He is 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 20 starts and one relief appearance against the Tigers. The 11 wins are the third most he has against any team, trailing only Minnesota (19) and Kansas City (16).
Ordonez, who played with the White Sox from 1997-2004, is 7-for-12 with two homers off Buehrle. Overall, he is hitting .339 against his former team.
Detroit counters with Andrew Miller (5-3, 3.18), who has alternated wins and losses in his last seven starts. He allowed one run and four hits in five innings Wednesday in a 3-2 victory over the Twins.
Miller made one relief appearance against the White Sox last season, allowing one hit in 1 2-3 innings.
Chicago has won 13 of the last 20 home meetings against the Tigers. These teams will play a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday to make up an April 26 rainout.