DETROIT (AP) — Ozzie Guillen kept his cool after his team let an early lead slip away, and he had a good reason for his optimistic outlook.
By taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox showed they could compete with another AL Central contender.
Carlos Guillen hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Detroit’s three-run sixth inning, leading the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the White Sox on Sunday. The loss prevented Chicago from sweeping the series, but the White Sox are still only four games behind Detroit and Cleveland.
“If we play for the rest of the season like we played in this series, we’ll be fine,” said Ozzie Guillen, Chicago’s manager. “I’ll take two of three for the rest of the year. It could have been a great series, but that’s not a Double-A team we were playing.”
The Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit. Chicago led 3-1 when Victor Martinez tied it with a two-run single in the sixth. Jhonny Peralta then singled, and Carlos Guillen followed with a line drive to right field that drove in Martinez.
Detroit’s Brad Penny (7-6) allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. Three relievers finished for the Tigers, with Jose Valverde working the ninth for his 25th save in 25 chances.
Phil Humber (8-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings for the White Sox. He struck out eight and walked one.
The Tigers haven’t played above-.500 baseball after the All-Star break since 2000, and they didn’t look good while dropping the first two games of the series by a combined 13-2. Penny then labored early on a hot Sunday afternoon, but it was Humber who ran out of steam first.
Brennan Boesch’s solo homer in the fourth made it 3-1, and Andy Dirks led off the Detroit sixth with a hard-hit ball that shortstop Alexei Ramirez deflected but couldn’t stop. Dirks hustled all the way to second as the ball rolled into short center field, and Magglio Ordonez walked one out later.
Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder to Ramirez, but with the runners moving, Chicago couldn’t turn a double play. Martinez came up with men on second and third and two out. His single brought home both runners when right fielder Carlos Quentin overran the ball slightly.
“I really wouldn’t change anything I threw, but they have great hitters and they got some hits off me,” Humber said. “You just have to tip your cap to them.”
Humber left after Peralta’s hit, and Guillen followed with a clutch base hit off Chris Sale. Quentin tried to play the ball on a short hop, but it bounced off him and went several feet away. Martinez scored easily.
“I thought we would get more runs off Penny, but he turned it around, and their guys got the clutch hits,” Ozzie Guillen said. “Even Victor’s hit was just a grounder that found a hole.”
Al Alburquerque relieved Penny with two on and two out in the seventh and got Paul Konerko to fly out to center. Joaquin Benoit struck out two in a perfect eighth for the Tigers.
The first time the Tigers hosted the White Sox this season, Detroit outscored Chicago 21-3 in a three-game sweep. The White Sox seemed ready to return the favor when they scored three runs in the second.
Alex Rios hit an RBI double, A.J. Pierzynski added a sacrifice fly and Gordon Beckham singled in a run.
But Penny was able to settle down after that. He ended up throwing only 78 pitches.
“Some teams are different. Those guys are really aggressive, and they’re doing me a favor by swinging first and second pitch every time,” Penny said. “I’m throwing strikes, and they’re helping my pitch count, when they had me a little bit on the ropes in the second inning.”
NOTES: The White Sox confirmed LHP John Danks is slated to start Wednesday night at Kansas City, although the team did not make a roster move. Danks has been on the DL with a strained right oblique. … Boesch struck out three times. … The temperature was 90 degrees at game time. … Humber struck out the side in the first. … Chicago’s Adam Dunn hit into an odd 5-6 forceout at second base in the third inning when the defense was shifted.
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