Tigers 9, White Sox 6

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CHICAGO (AP)—Curtis Granderson doesn’t recall Mike Hessman being the type of hitter that blooped singles into the outfield when they played together in the minors two years ago.

Hessman hit a go-ahead two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning— hours after being called up from Triple-A Toledo—to lead the Detroit Tigers past the last-place Chicago White Sox 9-6 on Monday night.

“I think there’s a couple things that you still haven’t seen,” Granderson said. “I had a chance to play with him in 2005 and he can definitely provide a lot of power with that bat.

“And sure enough, he was able to get an RBI single with a bloop hit rather than a power hit. So once he starts straightening out a couple balls and using that power you’re going to have something else to watch out for as well.”

Granderson went 3-for-3, including a leadoff homer, with one walk and was hit by a pitch and drove in four runs as the Tigers increased their lead in the AL Central to two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians.

Trailing 6-5 in the seventh inning with one out, the Tigers came back against White Sox ace Mark Buehrle (7-6). He gave up three consecutive singles to Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Ivan Rodriguez to load the bases.

Ehren Wassermann came in and got pinch-hitter Sean Casey to pop out, but Hessman followed by dropping down a bloop-single into right.

“I saw that guy probably right around the All-Star break—we faced Charlotte at our place,” Hessman said. “So I’ve seen him this year before. I grounded out the last time I faced him. So I had an idea of what he had and what he was going to do to me.”

Jason Grilli (4-2) pitched 1 1-3 innings of relief to earn the victory for the Tigers, who have won 12 of their last 16. Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 32 chances.

“It wasn’t the most beautiful contest in the world, obviously, but we came out on the right end of it,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Josh Fields hit a two-run homer for Chicago, which has lost eight of its last 11 and is a season-high 16 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

Rodriguez also tried to score on a wild pitch by Wassermann, but was tagged out after catcher A.J. Pierzynski flipped the ball to Wassermann at the plate.

Before the game, the Tigers purchased the contract of Hessman from Triple-A Toledo and optioned outfielder Timo Perez to Toledo. Hessman led the International League with 27 home runs.

The Tigers got insurance runs in the eighth inning. Granderson scored on Gary Sheffield’s sacrifice fly and Ordonez drove in Placido Polanco to make it 9-6.

Buehrle lasted 6 1-3 innings, but gave up a season-high seven runs and tied a career high with 14 hits allowed. He struck out five and walked two.

“It’s a long year,” Buehrle said. “What we’ve gone through this year and the way we’ve been playing, it’s been a long season. It’s not over. Mathematically, we’re not out of it, but I don’t know how much closer we’re going to get.”

Buehrle’s grandmother is sick and his pregnant wife is scheduled to be induced Thursday. He’ll leave the club for the St. Louis area on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the health of his grandmother. He expects to be back with the club Saturday for his next start.

“Obviously, family is more important than baseball,” Buehrle said. “This is time where I need to be home now.”

After getting the first two outs in the sixth, Tigers reliever Macay McBride walked Jermaine Dye. Grilli came in and walked the next two batters to load the bases, then plunked pinch-hitter Rob Mackowiak with a fastball to give the White Sox a 6-5 lead.

Tigers starter rookie Andrew Miller couldn’t hold a 5-2 lead. He gave up a run on Jim Thome’s fielder’s choice in the fourth. Pierzynski hit an infield single off Miller in the fifth inning and Dye followed with an RBI double to cut the Tigers’ lead to 5-4.

After a two-out walk to Andy Gonzalez and an infield single by Jerry Owens to load the bases, Miller walked Tadahito Iguchi to tie it at 5.

Miller lasted just 4 2-3 innings in his ninth career start. He gave up a season-high 10 hits and allowed five runs in his shortest outing. He struck out seven and walked five.

Granderson broke a 2-all tie in the fourth inning with a with a two-run double with bases loaded off Buehrle. Polanco drove in Brandon Inge on an infield single giving the Tigers a 5-2 lead.


The White Sox honored former pitcher Billy Pierce before the game with a life-sized statue that is displayed on the left-center field concourse at U.S. Cellular Field. … The Tigers will recall Virgil Vasquez from Triple-A Toledo to pitch in the second game of the doubleheader against the White Sox on Tuesday. … The White Sox will recall Gavin Floyd from Triple-A Charlotte to start in the second game of the doubleheader.

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