CHICAGO (AP)—Tadahito Iguchi was ready, hoping Franklyn German would throw a fastball as he stood at the plate in the eighth inning. He didn’t get it, striking out and falling a home run short of the cycle.
Iguchi did not start Thursday and did not play Friday after arriving late to the stadium both days because of a “personal issue.” He oubled to the left-field wall in the first, singled in the third, walked in the fifth and tripled off the center-field wall in the sixth.
The last White Sox player to hit for the cycle was Jose Valentin on April 27, 2000, against Baltimore.
“Waited for a fastball but didn’t get one,” Iguchi said through an interpreter.
Aaron Rowand and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back solo homers in the seventh, and Mark Buehrle pitched seven strong innings. After losing 15 of 22 at home before this series, the White Sox are in position to sweep the four-game set with a victory on Sunday. Detroit has lost eight of 10.
“That’s the way we want to do it,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Hopefully, we’ll finish the season the way we started the season. We never lost the belief we can continue to win games.”
With a 15-game lead in the AL Central on Aug. 1, the White Sox stumbled last month, going 12-16. But they still lead second-place Cleveland by 8 1/2 games.
Buehrle (15-7) scattered nine hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter in seven innings. He has pitched 203 2-3 innings, reaching 200 for the fifth straight year.
“The last couple of starts, I felt fine,” said Buehrle, who had lost three of his previous four. “A lot of people were saying, ‘You’re injured, you’re tired.’ But I feel fine.”
Rowand broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run triple in the third and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Dye followed Rowand’s homer with his 27th home run. It was the second time in three games and the 12th time this season the White Sox hit consecutive homers.
Nate Robertson (6-12) allowed six runs and 12 hits in 6 1-3 innings and left after Dye’s homer in the seventh. He is 1-5 in his last eight starts.
After outscoring the Tigers 21-4 in the first two games of the series, the White Sox went ahead on Paul Konerko’s two-out RBI single in the first.
Monroe’s homer tied the score in the second, but Rowand’s triple put Chicago back ahead 3-1 in the third.
“They’ve turned it around,” Monroe said of the White Sox. “They’re putting both together—hitting and pitching.”
The Tigers, who had won eight of nine before this slide, aren’t doing that.
“We’re not getting the big hits, the pitchers are not pitching,” Monroe said. “Do you tuck your toe or do you battle through it?”
Ordonez and Dmitri Young were back in the lineup after missing Friday’s game with minor injuries. Ordonez sat out with a sore left biceps after getting hit by a Dustin Hermanson pitch on Thursday. Young, who bruised his left thumb fielding a grounder in batting practice, was the designated hitter on Saturday.