Chicago (50-48) at Detroit (52-44)

Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 26, 2009
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Carlos Guillen’s(notes) return from the disabled list might be the spark the Detroit Tigers need to help them remain on top of the AL Central.

The first-place Tigers look to stay perfect with Guillen back and complete their first four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox in almost 21 years Sunday night at Comerica Park.

These division rivals entered this series tied atop the AL Central, but after Detroit (52-44) swept a doubleheader Friday and rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning victory Saturday, the Tigers have a three-game lead over the second-place White Sox.

Guillen’s return has helped put the Tigers on the verge of their first four-game sweep of the White Sox (50-48) since Aug. 18-21, 1988.

After missing over 2 1/2 months with a shoulder injury, Guillen went 3 for 7 with a homer Friday and 2 for 5 with two RBIs, including the game-winning single Saturday to help the Tigers to a third straight victory after losing five of six.

“I’m excited to be back, and I’m happy that I’m helping us win,” said Guillen, a lifetime .330 hitter against the White Sox.

While Detroit has struggled to consistently produce at the plate, the presence of a veteran like Guillen should make opposing pitchers a bit more careful when facing a lineup that also features All-Stars Miguel Cabrera(notes), Brandon Inge(notes) and Curtis Granderson(notes).

“He (Guillen) makes the whole offense different,” shortstop Ramon Santiago(notes) told the Tigers’ official Web site.

Granderson’s double off Chicago closer Bobby Jenks(notes) with two outs in the ninth tied the game Saturday. Jenks, who has failed to convert his last two save chances, has a 9.45 ERA in his last six appearances.

“I’m not even mad,” Jenks said. “The way things had gone in the last week, we had worked on stuff mechanically, and we got the little kinks worked out. (Saturday), everything was sharp.”

A.J. Pierzynski(notes) homered for one of his four hits and Scott Podsednik(notes) added three hits with an RBI for the White Sox, who haven’t been able to carry over the momentum from Mark Buehrle’s(notes) perfect game against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

“When he pitched his last no-hitter in 2007, we lost five in a row, and now we’ve lost three,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Mark Buehrle, this is all your fault.”

Podsednik is 7 for 17 (.412) in his last four games, while Pierzynski is 6 for 9 in this series.

Chicago looks to bounce back while facing Detroit rookie Rick Porcello(notes) (9-6, 4.40 ERA) for the first time.

Looking to lighten the 20-year-old’s workload, Porcello made his first start since July 5, and allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings of a 9-7 win over Seattle on Tuesday. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 9.45 ERA in his last three starts.

“I just have to stay sharp physically and mentally,” Porcello told the Tigers’ official Web site.

The White Sox counter with Clayton Richard(notes) (3-3, 5.00), who allowed one run and four hits in eight innings, but didn’t factor in the decision of a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday after Jenks couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the ninth.

Despite the outcome, it was a step in the right direction for Richard, who’s 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA in his last three starts.

In his only start versus Detroit, the left-hander allowed three runs while walking five in 4 2-3 innings, but left without a decision in a 5-4 loss to Detroit on June 8.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Richard ChC vs. R. Porcello Bos
9-5 Record 14-9
4.41 ERA 3.96
114 K 89
71 BB 52
1.47 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 26