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White Sox light up Tigers to extend Central lead

DETROIT (AP) -- After taking a huge division lead and nearly
giving it all up, the Chicago White Sox need just one more win to
clinch a berth in the playoffs.

Jose Contreras won his eighth straight start and Scott Podsednik
had four hits, leading the White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 8-2
Wednesday night and opening a three-game lead for Chicago in the AL
Central.

The White Sox would clinch no worse than a wild-card berth in
the playoffs with one win in their last four games.

"I just know we've got to win tomorrow," White Sox catcher
A.J. Pierzynski said. "We've got four games left and that's the
most important one."

With Chicago's victory and second-place Cleveland's 1-0 loss to
Tampa Bay, the White Sox lowered their magic number to two for
clinching their first division title since 2000. After Thursday's
series finale in Detroit, the White Sox finish the regular season
with three games at Cleveland.

"To worry about what they're going to do in another city, you
worry about stupid stuff you can't control," White Sox manager
Ozzie Guillen. "Just come back tomorrow and win the game."

Chicago, which had lost its previous two games, led the AL
Central by 15 games on Aug. 1 -- no team with a lead of more than 13
games has ever failed to finish first.

Carl Everett's two-run triple broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth, and
Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand homered for the White Sox, who had 15
hits.

Carlos Pena homered for Detroit.

Contreras (15-7) gave up two runs and seven hits in eight
innings, walked none and struck out nine, one short of his career
high. Bobby Jenks finished with a three-hit ninth.

"I'm throwing the ball well, my defense is outstanding," said
Contreras through his interpreter, third-base coach Joey Cora.
"I'm throwing the ball the way I want to."

Contreras was considered Cuba's best pitcher before coming to
the United States in 2003. He had a hard time adjusting to his new
surroundings, first in New York with the Yankees, and then in
Chicago. But he seems to have found his comfort zone.

"We knew it was just a matter of time," Guillen said. "He had
the arm. He just had to get the confidence."

Detroit's Sean Douglass (5-5) allowed four runs -- three earned --
and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Tigers had won four straight
after losing eight in a row.

Pena's 17th homer put Detroit ahead in the second, but Jermaine
Dye's RBI single tied the score in the third and Everett's two-run
triple to the gap in right-center gave Chicago a 3-1 lead in the
fifth.

"We stayed in the game but then they got a couple of hits,"
Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.

Tadahito Iguchi hit into a run-scoring double play in the sixth,
but Detroit closed to 4-2 in the seventh on an RBI grounder by
former White Sox All-Star Magglio Ordonez. With two on and two
outs, Contreras struck out Brandon Inge.

Uribe hit a solo homer off Mark Woodyard in the eighth, and
Rowand added a three-run homer against Craig Dingman in the ninth.

Game notes
Chicago 3B Joe Crede, whose wife had a child on Tuesday in
Missouri, still hadn't returned before the start of Wednesday
night's game. ... Detroit SS Carlos Guillen (knee) and C Ivan
Rodriguez (calf strain) did not start.