Thome, Floyd leads White Sox over Tigers
CHICAGO (AP)—Don’t tell Detroit manager Jim Leyland the games are meaningless, even if the 2006 AL champs are just playing out the season.
Leyland was ejected in the ninth inning Saturday night for arguing a call with second base umpire Doug Eddings and moments later Juan Uribe hit an RBI single to give the Chicago White Sox a 3-2 victory.
“That guy in the last inning was clearly out. If you want to get the season over, go home. Play without any umpires tomorrow,” a still agitated Leyland said as he chewed on a postgame salad.
Darin Erstad led off the Chicago ninth with a walk against Fernando Rodney (2-6), and Scott Podsednik then dropped a bunt down in front of the plate. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez picked it up and threw to shortstop Omar Infante, but Eddings ruled that Infante’s foot was off the bag as he took the high throw and Erstad was safe.
Leyland came out to argue and was ejected. Uribe then singled in the hole between first and second, and right fielder Ryan Raburn couldn’t attempt a throw because he overran the ball.
“Plain and simple he was out,” Leyland said. “Go look at it 100 times if you want to look at it. Plain and simple the call was missed. I’m tired of being nice. … and not saying anything.”
Ehren Wasserman (1-1) recorded two outs to earn the win.
Thome was honored during a pregame ceremony for reaching 500 homers earlier this month. There was a video tribute featuring former and current players, coaches, baseball executives and his family.
“That’s something we will all cherish the rest of our lives,” Thome said. “What they did was just first class.”
Pinch-hitter Marcus Thames hit White Sox reliever Boone Logan’s first pitch in the eighth inning for his 18th homer, tying it at 2 and denying Floyd a win. Floyd allowed just six hits in seven innings, including Carlos Guillen’s 20th homer in the sixth.
Thome’s 35th homer of the season was a high drive that cleared the right-field fence over a leaping Raburn and came after a walk to Josh Fields. It was one of just four hits Verlander allowed in six innings.
The win was just the 72nd for the White Sox and general manager Ken Williams promised before the game to take whatever approach is necessary to get Chicago back to its winning ways next season.
“I’ll put it to you this way: There isn’t one player out there that will be available that we will turn away from,” Williams said. “If that player can help us, we’re going to go down that road to see if the fit is there and the economics match.”
Williams said the results this year were “very shabby.” The White Sox won the World Series in 2005 and had 90 wins in 2006.
“And again, we’re somewhat at a loss as to how things transpired and how we never got clicking at any time in the season,” Williams said. “I take full responsibility for the personnel that was put on the field.”
Leyland’s run-in with Eddings was his second of the game. In the fourth inning, Jermaine Dye overran second as Tigers shortstop Ramon Santiago fumbled a grounder for an error. But Eddings fell into Dye and knocked him down, preventing the White Sox outfielder from getting back to the bag. Dye was then allowed to stay at second. “Obviously a freak play. He wasn’t going to get to the bag anyway, but I can understand that a little bit,” said Leyland, who came out for an explanation. … The White Sox agreed with catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a two-year contract extension for $12.5 million through 2010. He will make $5.85 next season in the final year of his original three-year deal. … Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez sat out but will play in the season finale Sunday and is on his way to a batting crown with a .360 average. Ordonez also has 137 RBIs and Leyland said it’s probably the best single season any player he’s managed has ever mustered. … Floyd matched a career high with his seven innings pitched.