Tigers Rally To Sweep Sox, Win 12th Straight
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CHICAGO (AP) – White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen no longer sees the fight in his team.
Paul Konerko doesn’t see it, either.
The Chicago bullpen blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning and the Detroit Tigers beat the White Sox 6-5 in 10 innings on Wednesday.
“Their fight left three days ago. I don’t care what they say,” Guillen said. “It’s not frustrating; it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because we should have won this.”
Ryan Raburn’s pinch-hit homer with one out in the ninth off of Chris Sale brought the Tigers within two. Magglio Ordonez walked, chasing Sale. Pinch-hitter Alex Avila hit Sergio Santos’ second pitch into the seats in right-center to tie it.
It was Santos’ sixth blown save of the season.
Victor Martinez doubled off Santos (4-5) in the 10th and Carlos Guillen drove in the go-ahead run to lead the Tigers to their second sweep of the White Sox this month.
“It’s probably been more than three games,” said Konerko, citing the three-game sweep in Detroit Sept. 2-4. “When you grind for seven months and kind of get to a point where you know you can’t get to where you want to get to it just happens. People are human.
“But I think everybody is playing the game right and everybody’s integrity is there. Everybody is going out trying to do a job. Unfortunately at this point that’s what it’s become, a job. You hope it stays fun and you hope you get to the playoffs but that doesn’t happen for everybody.”
Guillen also hit a solo homer for Detroit, which won its 12th in a row, the team’s longest streak since 1934.
Jose Valverde finished up in the 10th to remain perfect in 44 save opportunities this year.
Closing in on an AL Central title, the surging Tigers’ ninth-inning rally prevented Chicago rookie Dylan Axelrod from earning his first career win.
Axelrod struck out eight and threw six strong innings in his first career start just two years after pitching for the independent Windy City ThunderBolts.
“It’s a shame,” Ozzie Guillen said. “This kid’s pitching very well and all the sudden we just blew it for him. Very nice day, you see this kid having success in his first time in the big leagues and all of the sudden, poof, another bad day for the White Sox.”
Alexei Ramirez laced a two-run double and Konerko added a two-run single during Chicago’s four-run second. Konerko reached 100 RBIs for the sixth time in his career.
Tigers starter Brad Penny allowed five runs — one earned — and eight hits over six innings. Phil Coke (3-9) got out of a jam in the ninth to earn the win.
The White Sox had runners on first and third with one out but A.J. Pierzynski bounced into a double play to end the threat.
“We hung in there and had a real nice win,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “A really unbelievable win. It was special today.”
Ramirez doubled, singled, walked and scored a run. Alejandro De Aza doubled, reached base four times, scored two runs and stole a base.
The 26-year-old Axelrod struck out at least one batter in each of his six innings and walked just two. He was starting in place of Jake Peavy, who was shut down by Chicago for the remainder of the season.
“It’s nice to get individual accolades like wins and things, but it’s a team game,” Axelrod said. “Unfortunately we came out on the losing end but I was happy with what I did and just want to continue to build off that.”
Axelrod allowed Carlos Guillen’s leadoff homer in the second and another run in the sixth but was sharp throughout his outing.
The 6-foot right-hander was a 30th-round pick by San Diego in 2007, but bounced around the minors, falling out of affiliated ball in 2009, when he threw for Windy City of the Frontier League. He was signed by the White Sox prior to the 2010 season.
“He threw great, he deserved a win,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “He pitched really well. He changed speeds, moved the ball in and out, up and down. He threw really well for his first big league start to go out and pitch the way he did. It was fun to watch and nice to see.”
Chicago’s four unearned runs in the second were set up by Penny’s error on Brent Morel’s sacrifice bunt, loading the bases.
Gordon Beckham struck out looking and Alex Rios was forced out at home, leaving the White Sox 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position to that point. Chicago entered the game just 5 for 45 in those situations, but Ramirez snapped the skid with a bloop double down the right-field line, scoring two runs.
Konerko followed with his two-run single.
Chicago tacked on a run in the sixth when Beckham doubled home De Aza.
The Tigers have won 22 of their last 26 games overall and 21 of 27 against the White Sox.
NOTES: The Tigers can clinch the AL Central during their four-game series at Oakland this weekend. In Thursday’s opener, Detroit will send Max Scherzer to the mound to face Brandon McCarthy. Scherzer has allowed just two runs in 14 innings this month. … The White Sox travel to Kansas City for a four-games series. On Thursday, Chicago’s Mark Buehrle will square off against fellow lefty Jeff Francis. Buehrle has allowed 14 runs in nine innings over his last two starts.
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