White Sox 11, Tigers 2

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DETROIT (AP)—When Magglio Ordonez joined Frank Thomas on the disabled list in July, the Chicago White Sox fell apart. They won just eight times during a 28-game stretch and plummeted out of first place.

Chicago isn’t going to challenge the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead in the final weekend of the season, but it is closing an up-and-down season relatively well.

Carlos Lee hit a grand slam and a two-run homer and Freddy Garcia pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the White Sox past Detroit 11-2 Wednesday for their eighth win in 12 games.

“We are out of the race, but it is important to finish strong and play the game right,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Ross Gload hit a two-run homer and Joe Borchard and Juan Uribe added solo home runs for the White Sox, who need to win one of their final four games at Kansas City to avoid their first losing season since 1999.

Garcia (13-11) struck out eight and gave up five hits and three walks over seven innings. He is 9-4 with Chicago since it acquired him on June 27 from Seattle. Soon after Garcia joined the White Sox, he signed a $27 million, three-year deal, deciding he didn’t want to be a free agent this offseason.

“I’m happy about knowing I will be back,” Garcia said. “This team is going to work very hard to get to the postseason next year. That’s the goal.”

Lee went 4-for-5 and is one RBI away from his second straight 30-homer, 100-RBI season. He hit his 30th homer off Jason Johnson in the third and his 31st off John Ennis in the ninth. Since the All-Star break, Lee is hitting .323 with 20 home runs and 49 RBIs.

“Carlos has been carrying us without the two guys we lost,” Guillen said. “Hopefully, he can get that 100th RBI.”

Lee hit .291 with 31 homers and 113 RBIs last year, his sixth in the majors.

“It has been nice to come back and have another good year,” he said. “This proves that I wasn’t just lucky last season.”

The Tigers beat the White Sox in 11 of 19 games, winning the season series for the first time since 1997.

Carlos Pena’s sacrifice fly off Damaso Marte in the eighth inning drove in the Tigers’ first run, then Brandon Inge’s RBI single made it 7-2.

Johnson (8-15) lost his seventh straight decision and hasn’t won since he helped Detroit beat the White Sox on July 29. He gave up seven runs—six on homers—on nine hits over seven innings.

“People talk about this being a pitcher’s ballpark, but it’s not even close,” Johnson said. “Center field is the only safe haven.”

The Tigers rested Ivan Rodriguez, who left Tuesday’s game with a tight right hamstring, but hope he will play Thursday at Tampa Bay.

Gload’s two-run homer in the first inning extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.

Garcia needed to get out of only one jam against Detroit.

After Pena and Inge singled in the second inning, he struck out two, then loaded the bases with a walk before getting Jason Smith out on a pop foul.

“He throws a lot more breaking balls than he used to,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “That’s still an area that we have to get better at because he threw breaking balls well over 50 percent of the time.”

Notes

Garcia is 9-0 in 10 starts during the day, 4-11 at night and 7-1 in his last eight starts on the road. He fell one short of his season high in strikeouts. … The Tigers will travel to Tampa Bay for a doubleheader on Thursday before returning home for a three-game series against the Devil Rays.

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