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Tigers rally, knock off White Sox in 12 innings

The SportsXchange

DETROIT - Nobody saw this one coming, either in Chicago or Detroit.

The White Sox took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night, came out with a 6-6 tie and the Tigers scratched out a 7-6 victory on Omar Infante's deflected infield single with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th inning.

"We're pretty good at playing nine innings," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Nobody on the bench was saying we were going to win that or anything. I'd be lying if I said I did.

"But we kept getting hits, the guys picked up on that and smelled it. It's a tribute to the players. It's a heckuva win for us.

"The guys could see that Cleveland already won. We could have packed it in and come back Sunday to try again. It's a tribute to them that they didn't."

The victory reduced Detroit's magic number for clinching the American League Central Division title to two; any combination of Detroit victories and Cleveland losses totaling two gives the Tigers the division championship.

"This game's hard unless you get 27 outs," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura, who saw his closer and his setup man victimized by the six-run ninth. "They kept battling. We had our guys in the game that we trust to go out there and get the job done.

"They just didn't do it. Just when you think you've seen it all, you haven't."

Reliever Jacob Petricka (1-1) walked leadoff man Don Kelly on four pitches in the 12th, got an infield out then walked the next two, the first of them (Victor Martinez) intentionally, to load the bases. Infante hit a grounder that deflected off Petricka to second but Gordon Beckham could only helpless scoop it up and hold on as Kelly scored the winning run.

Al Alburquerque (4-3) pitched the last two innings to get the win. Setup man Nate Jones got the last out of the eighth but failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the ninth.

Torii Hunter started the ninth-inning rally with a triple and ended it with a sacrifice fly to tie, tying the score at 6-6. Chants of "Torii, Torii" greeted him the second time he stepped to the plate in the ninth.

"I got chills," said Hunter, whose three-run home run on Aug. 29 capped a four-run ninth that gave Detroit a 7-6 win over Oakland. "The fans don't understand the adrenalin we get from them, what a boost it is for us, the way it lifts us up."

Miguel Cabrera, who left after the ninth with an aggravation of his groin injury, singled home Hunter and stopped at second on Prince Fielder's single. Martinez hit an RBI double and Andy Dirks hit the first pitch for a three-run home run that made it 6-5 and brought on closer Addison Reed, who walked three batters on 3-1 pitches before giving up Hunter's score-tying sacrifice fly.

Seven of Detroit's last nine baserunners were on walks.

White Sox ace Chris Sale battled Rick Porcello through six scoreless inning before Chicago broke through for two in the seventh. Sale allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings.

"He did his job," Ventura said. "It's tough going through that lineup. He did what he was supposed to do and then we brought in the guys we trust to do the job at the end."

"That was a big win for us," Dirks said. "It speaks to the kind of team we have. There was a lot of excitement on the bench (in the ninth). We were like a bunch of little kids in there."

Jeff Keppinger's two-out RBI double followed by Beckham's line RBI single to center made it 2-0 in the seventh. A pair of one-out errors plus an RBI single by Paul Konerko in the eighth boosted Chicago's lead to 3-0 and Jeremy Bonderman was tagged for three runs in the ninth. Bryan Anderson had a two-run double and Marcus Semien brought him in with a double.

NOTES: Cabrera left the game after scoring in the ninth with a sore groin. "It doesn't look good," Leyland said. "He's doubtful for Sunday." ... LHP John Danks of Chicago is being shut down for the rest of the season. Danks worked 138 1/3 innings coming off Tommy John surgery. ... Detroit SS Jose Iglesias was out of the lineup Saturday for a second straight game due to a sore left hand hit by a fastball Thursday afternoon. ... The White Sox acquired minor league LHP Frank De Los Santos, 25, from Tampa Bay on Saturday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. He joins Chicago's 40-man roster but not the Major League team.
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