White Sox 7, Tigers 5

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DETROIT (AP)—The Chicago White Sox have been getting timely hits and strong pitching lately, something the Detroit Tigers can only wish for.

Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski each homered Saturday and the White Sox hung on to win their third straight, a 7-5 victory over the struggling Tigers on Saturday night.

Javier Vazquez (9-6) went seven innings and gave up three runs and six hits with six strikeouts. The win was his third in his last four starts.

“He battled and gave us the innings we needed,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “This was a positive sign for him—when he doesn’t have good stuff, he’s usually bad.”

Chicago’s bullpen made it interesting, giving up two runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 36 opportunities. Jenks, who ended the game by striking out Brandon Inge, has retired 29 straight batters.

Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman (10-4) lost his third straight start after giving up six runs and 10 hits in seven innings. The Tigers, who had baseball’s best record two weeks ago, have lost four straight and 10 of their last 12.

“I need to pick it up and give this team a chance to win,” said Bonderman, who gave up four runs in the first. “In my last three starts I haven’t been doing it.

“We need to right the ship or it’s not going to be pretty. If we want to make the playoffs, we have to pick it up.”

The loss kept Detroit a half game behind AL Central leader Cleveland.

Bonderman got two outs in the first before the White Sox broke through with three straight RBI hits. Pierzynski started with a run-scoring single to right. Dye followed with a two-run double, drawing the ire of the home crowd. Bonderman heard a smattering of boos as Dye made his way to second. Podsednik then drove in Dye with a two-out single to make it 4-0.

“When you’re struggling, a four-run first inning is not good tonic,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “We’re just not doing what it takes to win games.”

Vazquez felt better about the opening-inning outburst.

“It’s great when the guys score early for you,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier for a starting pitcher.”

Craig Monroe and Inge cut the lead in half with RBI singles in the second but Thome and Pierzynski answered with solo shots to right in the next half-inning to make it 6-2.

“I’m sure happy that I got it,” said Pierzynski, who had gone 202 at-bats since a May 20 grand slam against the Cubs. “It’s been a long time. I told some of my teammates tonight that my only goal was to hit a homer.”

Thome’s homer was the 490th of his career.

Detroit’s Placido Polanco hit is sixth homer of the year down the left-field line off Vazquez in the third.

Thome came home with his third run of the game in the eighth on reliever Jason Grilli’s wild pitch to make it 7-3. Sean Casey got the run back in the bottom of the inning for Detroit with an RBI double off Chicago’s Mike MacDougal and Carlos Guillen followed with a sacrifice fly off Matt Thornton.

Magglio Ordonez, who entered the game a hundredth of a point ahead of Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki for the AL batting lead, went 0-for-4.

Notes

The Tigers placed LHP Andrew Miller on the 15-day disabled list before the game and recalled RHP Fernando Rodney from Triple-A Toledo. … The White Sox have homered 21 times in their last 12 games and have hit 31 long balls since the All-Star break. … Saturday’s sellout (42,907) was Detroit’s 14th straight, a Comerica Park record.

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