Timo Perez’s RBI single lifts Tigers over White Sox 2-1 in 11 innings

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DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers are watching the scoreboard carefully and trying to stay close in the AL wild-card race.

Timo Perez’s single off the right-center field wall with two outs in the 11th inning gave the Tigers a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

Kenny Rogers returned from the disabled list with a solid start and Mike Hessman homered for Detroit, which stayed 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the wild-card chase. New York beat Seattle, which is three games out.

“We’ve got to keep hanging in there,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Keep hanging in there, hang in.”

Detroit also remained seven games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.

Brandon Inge doubled with two outs in the 11th off Heath Phillips (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Phillips intentionally walked Carlos Guillen, and Perez drove the next pitch off the fence to score Inge.

“It’s a start,” Inge said. “When things have been going as badly for you as it has for us, you get a win against a team that has kind of dominated us, it’s a little jump-start.”

The Tigers are 5-9 against the White Sox this year.

“The pitch to Timo was a slider up in the middle of the plate,” Phillips said. “You can’t do that to these guys.”

Bobby Seay (2-0) worked a scoreless inning for the win.

Rogers, who had been on the DL with a sore elbow, made his first start since July 25. He missed most of the first three months of the season because of a blood clot in his left shoulder.

Rogers allowed a run and two hits in five innings, walking two and striking out six. He threw 83 pitches, 54 for strikes.

“I felt more comfortable on the mound than I expected to,” said Rogers, who was 17-8 last year in his first season with the Tigers and 3-0 in the postseason as he didn’t allow a run in 23 innings.

They’ll probably need him healthy for the rest of the season to have any chance of getting back to the playoffs.

“That will be a big plus for us, and we don’t have to worry about that spot,” Leyland said. “Get (Gary) Sheffield back tomorrow.”

Sheffield is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, but the slugger is scheduled to be activated Thursday. He said on Tuesday that he’ll be ready to play. Leyland said he will insert Sheffield right back into his normal No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Chicago starter Gavin Floyd gave up a run and six hits in six innings, also walking two and striking out six.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the third on Danny Richar’s leadoff home run. He drove Rogers’ 2-2 pitch deep into the stands down the right-field line for his fourth homer.

“It felt really good to be able to hit a homer off a great pitcher like Rogers,” Richar said. “I’m just a rookie and he’s been around for a very long time.”

Detroit tied it on Hessman’s leadoff home run in the fifth. His opposite-field shot, which landed in the right-center stands for his second home run, came on Floyd’s 1-2 pitch.

The Tigers had a chance to take the lead, but Marcus Thames struck out with runners on second and third.

Notes

Leyland said RHP Jeremy Bonderman’s elbow was a little sore after Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the White Sox, but didn’t think it was serious enough for Bonderman to miss his next start. … White Sox RF Jermaine Dye remains day-to-day after injuring his left groin Tuesday night. … Detroit had a season-high six stolen bases. Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco each had two. Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago got the other two. … Detroit C Ivan Rodriguez had two doubles to give him 500 for his career.

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