DETROIT (AP)—Nate Cornejo gave himself a nice start going into the break.
Hit hard in his previous outing, Cornejo came within three outs of his first career shutout and led the Detroit Tigers to their first home sweep in a year with a 1-0 victory Thursday over the Chicago White Sox.
On July 4, Cornejo allowed six earned runs in three innings of a game Detroit lost at Kansas City.
“I knew it was going to be tough today,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into the All-Star break down on myself.”
Cornejo (4-7) won for the first time in 11 starts since May 11. He had lost his past five decisions.
Cornejo outpitched All-Star Esteban Loaiza, who threw a six-hitter for his first complete game of the season.
Loaiza (11-5) struck out seven and walked none.
Cornejo allowed seven hits and left after issuing a leadoff walk in the ninth to Frank Thomas.
“That ball was smoked,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “We were fortunate. But if you’re around baseball long enough, you see things like that. This is the first time we’ve been on the good side of three games like this. Most of the time this season, they’ve gone against us.”
Mears earned his third save to finish the Tigers’ third shutout of the season.
It was the first home shutout for the Tigers since April 14, 2001, when Steve Sparks beat Cleveland.
Detroit wrapped up its second sweep of the season, also winning three games in Baltimore May 5-7. The Tigers’ last sweep at home came July 23-25, 2002, against Kansas City.
“Their guys pitched well, they kept us without hits and that’s very, very key,” Thomas said. “They found a way to get us out and that’s the key to the whole series. Our pitchers gave us a chance to win each and every game. We just did not get any hits and push any runs across the board.”
The Tigers swept the White Sox at home in a series of at least three games for the first time since 1988.
“It seemed that in all three games we got the bat on the ball. We found the hole,” Trammell said. “It’s nice to be able to say we got the breaks instead of the other way around. It was a nailbiter, but we’ll take it.”
Cornejo walked two and struck out two.
“He was around the strike zone a little bit more today than normally,” White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. “We have a couple of guys that have had some success against him. But we were unable to get it done today.”
The White Sox threatened in the eighth. Jose Valentin doubled with one out and Miguel Olivo reached on an infield single. Valentin went to third on a fielder’s choice but was stranded when Carlos Lee grounded out.
The loss ended any chances of the White Sox ending a skid that has seen them lose five of six to Tampa Bay and the Tigers, the two worst teams in the American League.
Manuel hoped Daubach’s liner would put his team ahead.
“Obviously when he hit it, you’re thinking two runs,” Manuel said. “Instead of that, you’re looking at a loss. That’s the margin of victory and defeat. He hit on the nose, put together a good at-bat, we had first and third,kind of had the right situation, were unable to capitalize.”
The game took only two hours, four minutes to play. … Olivo snapped an 0-for-24 skid with a sixth-inning single. … The Tigers, 24-65 overall, evened the season series with the White Sox at 6-6, including six wins in thelast eight meetings.