Bonderman (11-7, 4.72 ERA) won Thursday for the first time since July 13, throwing seven innings and allowing a run and six hits in a 6-1 victory at Kansas City. The win ended a nightmarish seven-start streak during which he went 0-6 with an 8.78 ERA - a slide that began with a 5-3 loss to the White Sox on July 24, when he gave up five runs and eight hits in seven innings.
“I just have to go out here and go one pitch at a time and throw with conviction and make sure when I leave the field, I leave everything out there,” Bonderman told the Tigers’ official Web site. “If I can’t do my job, then what does it matter anyway.”
The Tigers (73-64) were one game behind Boston for the best record in the majors on July 24, holding a two-game lead over Cleveland atop the AL Central. Since then, Detroit has the league’s worst record at 14-26 - with Chicago, the AL champion the year before the Tigers in 2005, going 15-24 for the second-worst mark during that span.
The Tigers are looking to get back on track in the division and wild-card races, but suffered a demoralizing 8-7, 10-inning loss at Oakland on Sunday. Detroit blew a 7-0 lead and lost on Jack Hannahan’s winning single in the 10th after Kurt Suzuki tied it with a two-run homer off closer Todd Jones in the ninth.
“A loss like this hurts in April, May, June, July, August or September,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s significant that we had a chance to pick up a game in the division and the wild-card race and we let it get away. We can’t do that.”
Bonderman, seeking his first home win since July 1, has lost both his starts against the White Sox this season, posting a 7.07 ERA in those games. He’s 5-8 with a 4.36 ERA in 14 career starts against Chicago.
While Detroit has managed to remain in contention despite its poor play over the last five-plus weeks, the White Sox (58-79) are hardly strangers to such lackluster stretches in 2007. Last-place Chicago ended a five-game losing streak and 11-game road skid with an 8-0 victory over Cleveland on Sunday, but Ozzie Guillen’s team has just four wins in its last 22 games.
“It’s fun to see that we don’t have to go out there and battle and lose,” the White Sox manager said after the rare victory.
Chicago’s stunning fall from contention just two years after winning the World Series has been reflected in the players that led it to the championship. Jon Garland (8-10, 4.89), who helped anchor a powerful rotation during the team’s title run, will try for his first win in seven starts when he takes the ball Tuesday.
The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA since beating Toronto on July 27, allowing 58 hits and seven home runs during that span. He pitched better in his last outing, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4, 11-inning loss at Texas on Wednesday.
“I left the game with a lead, gave the team a chance,” Garland said. “It’s hard to ask for more. It seems like whatever can go wrong is. It’s the exact opposite of ’05.”
Garland might be facing the right team as he looks to get back in the win column. The right-hander is 12-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 23 starts against the Tigers, and 8-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts at Comerica Park.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who’s batting .344 (11-for-32) in his career against Bonderman, could miss the entire series to attend a family funeral in Florida.
Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco is hitting .383 (18-for-47) with a homer and nine RBIs in 11 games against the White Sox this season, and .393 (11-for-28) in his career against Garland.
The White Sox have won four straight meetings with the Tigers and lead the season series 8-4, including 5-1 at Comerica.