Tigers end 6-game skid with win over White Sox

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CHICAGO (AP)—Manager Jim Leyland was realistic before the game even started, describing Detroit’s chances for making a late run in the AL Central.

“Eventually time runs out if you don’t start winning games,” he said. “Do we have time? Yes.”

On Thursday night the Tigers showed how they’ll have to play to get back in the race. They got a homer and three RBIs from Miguel Cabrera and a nice defensive play from Ryan Raburn to beat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 and end a six-game losing streak.

“We haven’t played very good,” Cabrera said. “We have to finish strong. Hopefully we can play better.”

Zach Miner (6-4) allowed seven hits and two runs—one earned—in six innings. Fernando Rodney got the final four outs to get his second save in six chances and just the 23rd in 43 opportunities for Detroit’s struggling bullpen.

Curtis Granderson also homered for Detroit. And Magglio Ordonez had a two-run triple and Matt Joyce a run-scoring double in the ninth to put it away. Detroit is 7 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, and second-place Minnesota trails first-place Chicago by a half game.

Carlos Quentin’s AL-leading 30th homer, off Bobby Seay in the eighth, pulled Chicago within 5-3.

But Chicago’s rally fizzled when Jim Thome, who’d walked, was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Paul Konerko’s double to left. Raburn, who initially had the ball bound away from him, threw to shortstop Ramon Santiago, who made a perfect peg to catcher Brandon Inge to easily get Thome for the second out.

“With the ball rattling around in the corner … I don’t know of any third base coach who would have held him up there,” Konerko said, defending the decision of coach Jeff Cox.

“You have to make the decision right away. Sometimes you make the right one, sometimes you make the wrong one,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “I never will criticize my coaching staff.”

After Seay hit Ken Griffey Jr. with a pitch, Rodney relieved. Raburn, who entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement, saved the Tigers with a nice diving catch on Alexei Ramirez’s liner with runners at second and third.

“Midway in the air I figured I had a chance,” Raburn said. “You see what happens and then you just go hard. It was a great feeling not starting the game and coming in for defensive purposes and making a great play.”

Cabrera, who was 3-for-3 with two walks, lined a two-out, two-run homer— his 21st of the season—in the third to score Carlos Guillen, who’d doubled over Griffey’s head in right.

Placido Polanco doubled past third in the fifth before Guillen hit a shot down the first base line for a triple that made it 3-0. Cabrera then delivered a two-out RBI single off Javier Vazquez (8-10) and it was 4-0.

Granderson led off the seventh with his 14th homer to put Detroit ahead 5-2.

Chicago’s Nick Swisher and Juan Uribe opened the bottom half of the fifth with back-to-back ground-rule doubles to make it 4-1, but Miner retired the next three batters. Santiago’s wild throw to first on Ramirez’s infield single allowed Konerko to score Chicago’s second run in the sixth.

The White Sox loaded the bases in the fourth when Quentin was hit by a pitch for the 15th time this season and Thome and Konerko singled. But Miner struck out Griffey and Ramirez.

“I was really impressed with him tonight because this place plays small and they have a lot of power,” Leyland said of Miner.

Vazquez, who threw a season-high 122 pitches, gave up eight hits and five runs in seven innings. A 15-game winner a year ago, he is 1-5 in his last eight starts.

“Javy was the No. 2 guy for us the way he pitched last year and the expectations are going to get higher and higher from now on for everyone,” Ozzie Guillen said. “And I expect for Javy to throw better games.”

Notes

Guillen returned to the bench after serving a two-game suspension for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons and his comments Sunday after the Royals and White Sox were involved in a bench-clearing brawl. … Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, who spent his first five major league seasons with the White Sox starting in 1972, threw out the first pitch.

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