Cintron followed up his three-run, go-ahead homer Tuesday night with a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh Wednesday as the White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 to move within a half-game of the lead in the AL Central.
“I don’t feel like a hero. I think everybody did their job,” Cintron said.
Cintron has found himself in the lineup at shortstop for two games in a row because Uribe is with his wife, who is expecting a baby.
“We need him here. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity,” Cintron said. “If they tell me to play tomorrow, I’ll be ready to play.”
Jose Contreras (6-0) won his 14th straight regular-season decision dating back to last season and picked up his first victory since coming off the disabled list May 21. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs—two earned—and seven hits. Contreras is 14-0 in his last 18 regular-season starts and hasn’t lost since Aug. 15 of last season.
“You start thinking about something so big, you’re not going to accomplish your goals,” Contreras said of his long streak of success.
Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.
Rob Mackowiak sacrificed against reliever Jamie Walker to send Crede to second. Cintron then lined a single to left, third base coach Joey Cora waved Crede home and he made it easily when left fielder Alexis Gomez fumbled the ball. Gomez was in left because starter Craig Monroe had to leave the game in the third inning when he sprained his ankle hitting the wall while attempting a leaping catch of Scott Podsednik’s triple.
“He charged the ball well, he just didn’t field it clean,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
“It was pretty close. It’s better to be aggressive,” Cintron said. “Things can happen, like there he missed the ball and he couldn’t throw it. That’s what Joey likes to do, he likes to be aggressive and I’ll take it.”
Jim Thome hit his AL-leading 21st homer to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Jermaine Dye’s 18th homer tied the game in the fourth. Granderson hit his ninth homer for Detroit, which has lost eight of its last 10.
Verlander, with some of his pitches clocked in the high 90s, allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings plus. He figured Crede, not known for his speed, might have been out on Cintron’s single.
“I’m thinking he’s out,” Verlander said. “It just so happened that the ball scooted under Gomez’s glove. That happens sometimes. It’s a tough break for us.”
The White Sox also had a shaky play in the field but were able to overcome it.
With two outs in the seventh and runners at first and second, Magglio Ordonez grounded to the normally sure-handed Crede, who fumbled the ball and then threw wildly past first for two errors as Granderson scored the tying run, Placido Polanco went to third and Ordonez advanced to second. After Carlos Guillen was walked intentionally to load the bases, Marcus Thames lined out to Crede to end the winning.
The Tigers moved ahead in the fourth when Ordonez walked and raced to third on Guillen’s hit-and-run single to left before Thames delivered a sacrifice fly. Chris Shelton followed with a single but Gomez, popped out. ^Notes: Veteran White Sox reliever Jeff Nelson said after the game he would have surgery on the nerve in his elbow next week, a procedure that will probably end his career. Recovery time is expected to three months for the 39-year-old Nelson, who made six appearances for the White Sox this season. … Cintron was a starter again because Juan Uribe was with his expectant wife. … Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez, forced to leave Tuesday night’s game after two innings with back spasms, didn’t play. … The White Sox put struggling reliever Cliff Politte on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder and called up Sean Tracey from Triple-A. … The crowd of 37,612 pushed the White Sox’s attendance to the 1 million mark through 30 home dates. That’s the quickest the White Sox have reached 1 million in franchise history. … Thome, who missed three games over the weekend with a strained groin, homered for the first time since hitting two on May 29. … X-rays were negative on Monroe’s ankle and he will be re-evaluated Thursday.