Tigers 8, White Sox 4

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DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers have something to play for besides pride— avoiding dubious history.

Bobby Higginson hit a three-run homer and Nate Robertson won his first major league game as the Tigers avoided their 100th loss of the season with an 8-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Detroit is 34-99 and must sweep the three-game series with Chicago to avoid joining the 1962 New York Mets as the only teams in the modern era to lose 100 before September.

“It’s a big thing. We try to put it off as long as we can,” Tigers catcher Brandon Inge said. “And each time we win a game, we get one step closer.”

Robertson (1-0) won in his fourth big league start. He allowed three runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings. Reliever Fernando Rodney allowed a run in three innings.

“That was the performance of the night,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “That gave us a chance to win.”

Mark Buehrle (11-13) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in five innings. It’s the third time this season he’s given up at least eight runs.

“It was one of those games you have it down in the bullpen and you don’t have it in the game,” Buehrle said.

Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said Buehrle is going through a little lull.

“I would just say that he’s (Buehrle) probably going through something at this time,” he said. “Just like every pitcher does at this time of the year.”

The White Sox took the early lead in the first when Magglio Ordonez doubled into the gap in right-center to score Frank Thomas, who had walked.

But the Tigers scored two in the bottom half as Higginson hit a run-scoring double and Dmitri Young had an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Chicago right fielder Magglio Ordonez injured his left index finger trying to make a diving catch on Higginson’s hit. He left the game and had X-rays, which were negative. He is day to day.

Higginson, who was a triple short of the cycle, made it 5-1 in the second when he hit his 13th homer into the right-field bullpen, scoring Ben Petrick and Danny Klassen.

“I’ve been struggling a lot this year. It felt good to contribute,” said Higginson, who is only hitting .239 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute the rest of the season like that.”

Thomas hit his 37th homer, a two-run shot in the third. He lined Robertson’s pitch into the stands in left-center after Roberto Alomar led off with a single.

Detroit stretched its lead to 8-3 in the fifth when Warren Morris was hit with an 0-2 pitch with the bases loaded and Petrick followed with a two-run single to right.

“To get those extra runs to make it 8-3, that made me feel real good,” Trammell said.

Joe Crede led off the eighth with a home run over the left-field fence tomake it 8-4.

Notes

Higginson’s double was the 245th of his career, which puts him in 10th place on the Tigers’ career list. He was tied with Harvey Kuenn. … Thomas has nine home runs in his last 11 games. … Crede has five home run and 13 RBI inhis last 18 games

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