DETROIT (AP)—Faced with the go-ahead run on second base and Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez coming up for Chicago in the eighth inning, Detroit manager Alan Trammell had some difficult decisions to make.
Trammell chose to intentionally walk Thomas and pitch to Ordonez, who hit a tiebreaking single in the White Sox’s 6-1 victory over the Tigers on Sunday.
With the victory, Esteban Loaiza became the AL’s first 18-game winner. Loaiza (18-6) allowed one run and four hits, struck out eight and one walk in eight innings.
“I just wanted to go out there and battle. I never thought I’d have 18 wins,” said Loaiza, a non-roster invitee to training camp. “I’m still battling. I’m still working hard. I still want to get every single start that I can and win it.”
Chicago leads the AL Central by 1 1/2 games over Minnesota and Kansas City.
The Tigers lost their 101st game a day after joining the 1962 New York Mets as the only teams in the modern era to lose 100 games before September.
Trammell sent out pitching coach Bob Cluck to asked starter Nate Cornejo (6-14) if he wanted to face Thomas and the answer was an emphatic yes. But after the first two pitches were balls, Trammell called for the intentional walk.
Ordonez then lined a single to left to score Alomar with two outs.
“I don’t know why they do that because I hit pretty good against Cornejo,” Ordonez said. “But it’s part of the game. It’s something you can’t control. You just try to do your job and get a hit.”
Cornejo allowed two runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked five.
“A little bit frustrating. The way I felt, I felt good,” he said. “Battled through some innings, had a 1-0 lead. Crede led off eighth with a home run. It was a cutter that I left over the plate. He took advantage of it.”
The White Sox scored four runs in the ninth off reliever Danny Patterson, who threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt for the first run of the inning. Alomar hit an RBI double, Carlos Lee an RBI single and Frank Thomas a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring.
“We were hoping Patty could hold ‘em down and give us a chance in the ninth,” Trammell said. “But unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
Warren Morris put Detroit up 1-0 with a two-out single in the second.
White Sox manager Jerry Manuel raved about Loaiza’s season.
“He’s a guy that historically, he’s changing a whole lot of his patterns from the past,” Manuel said. “Obviously, with this kind of year and being as consistent as he has been, he’s another guy that when they give out awards,hopefully he’ll be in line for something.
Tigers RF Bobby Higginson didn’t start because of a pulled hamstring suffered in Saturday night’s game. He pinch-hit in the eighth. … Crede has six homers against Detroit this year, and six in his last 11 games overall. … The Tigers’ Carlos Pena is in an 0-for-12 slump. … Ordonez extended his hitting streak to eight games. … Dmitri Young’s 16-game hitting streak endedafter he went 0-for-3.