Series: Game 1 of 3

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 7/18)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 18
Chi White Sox7Final
Game 2: Wednesday, July 19
Chi White Sox2Final
Game 3: Thursday, July 20
Chi White Sox1Final

White Sox 7

(58-34, 25-20 away)

Tigers 1

(62-31, 29-16 home)

7:05 PM ET, July 18, 2006

Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

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CWS 010102300 7 10 0
DET 000010000 1 7 0

W: J. Garland (9-3)

L: N. Robertson (8-6)

Konerko's two HRs power White Sox rout of Tigers

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers have the best record in baseball. They just can't seem to beat the Chicago White Sox this season -- or at home in recent years.

Short Hops
Chicago's dominance of Detroit continued with a 7-1 victory in the series opener as the White Sox used power to gain ground in the American League Central race.

For more Short Hops from Tuesday, click here.

Paul Konerko hit two home runs and Jon Garland pitched seven strong innings to lead the White Sox to a 7-1 victory over Detroit on Tuesday night in the matchup of the AL Central's top two teams.

The Tigers are 1-6 against the World Series champions, who have won 12 of their last 14 games at Comerica Park.

"It is one of the nicer ballparks in the league to pitch at, a lot nicer than ours the way the ball jumps out," Garland said. "We come here ready to play, and we play good."

Detroit (62-31) has been good enough to lead the White Sox, who own the second-best record in the majors, by 3½ games in the division.

Keeping an eye on the big picture, Detroit manager Jim Leyland is doing his best to tone down the hype the series is generating.

"Whether we win three or lose three, come Thursday, I'm not going to say the season is over," Leyland said. "I won't be celebrating and I won't be crying because we'll have 67 games left."

Chicago broke open the first of a three-game series with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh -- with Konerko homering in each inning -- giving Garland more than enough support.

Garland (9-3) allowed one run, six hits and one walk while striking out five to win his fifth straight decision.

Konerko's solo homer in the sixth restored a two-run lead for Chicago and his three-run shot in the seventh made it 7-1. He has 23 homers this season, seven during a current 15-game hitting streak against the Tigers, dating to last year.

The White Sox had lost five of their last six in falling a season-high 4½ games behind Detroit. They were coming off being swept for the first time this season, an 0-3 series on the road against the New York Yankees.

"The only good thing about this game is that we're not going to get swept," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The way we played in New York, this game was important."

While Leyland and his players shrugged off the significance of the series, Guillen and some of the White Sox, who were swept by the Yankees over the weekend, did not.

"I cannot say it's another series -- we're chasing them," Guillen said.

Chicago third baseman Joe Crede agreed.

"These are the games that really count, these are the big ones," said Crede, who had a homer and an RBI double. "I really think it's going to come down to the last week against Detroit.

"This club is not going to go away."

The Tigers were swept at home in April by the White Sox, who have won three games by one run against Detroit and another by two.

"We've played good ballgames against them and just gotten beat," Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge said. "I don't feel that they are better than us, or that we are better than them. We're about equal, and it's going to be a battle all season."

Nate Robertson (8-6) allowed six runs, nine hits and one walk over 6 2-3 innings to lose his third straight start.

"I felt pretty good, but every time I missed a pitch, they got it," he said. "I made a lot of quality pitches, but they didn't get themselves out."

Chicago went ahead 1-0 in the second on Crede's double, which scored Jermaine Dye, who had doubled off the wall in center field.

Juan Uribe's RBI single made it 2-0 in the fourth when Dye scored again after his second double. In the home half, Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez led off with an infield single, but Garland struck out Magglio Ordonez and got the next two Tigers to fly out.

The Tigers pulled within a run in the fifth on Placido Polanco's RBI single.

Konerko put Chicago ahead 3-1, leading off the sixth with a homer, and Crede hit a two-out home run to make it a three-run lead.

The White Sox chased Robertson in the seventh and reliever Jason Grilli gave up a homer to Konerko, the first batter he faced.

Game notes

Leyland said, barring something "freaky," a Tigers beat writer had a better chance of managing the team next week than Detroit had of acquiring Philadelphia OF Bobby Abreu. ... Konerko hit more than one homer for the fourth time this season, first since May 26 at Toronto, and the 17th time of his career. ... Detroit DH Dmitri Young, on the DL for almost two months with a right leg strain and personal issues, has been hitting the ball well recently in the minors, but the team does not have a timetable for his return. ... Rodriguez has a season-high nine-game hitting streak and Chicago's Jim Thome has a season-best 10-game hitting streak.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press