Series: Game 3 of 4

Detroit leads 2-1 (as of 8/23)

Game 1: Monday, August 21
Chi White Sox1Final
Game 2: Tuesday, August 22
Chi White Sox0Final
Game 3: Wednesday, August 23
Chi White Sox7Final
Game 4: Thursday, August 24
Chi White Sox10Final

White Sox 7

(74-52, 33-29 away)

Tigers 5

(81-46, 40-23 home)

7:05 PM ET, August 23, 2006

Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

123456789 R H E
CWS 330000100 7 15 1
DET 300002000 5 9 0

W: F. Garcia (12-8)

L: Z. Miner (7-5)

S: B. Jenks (36)

White Sox hold off Tigers, retain wild-card lead

DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Thome struggled to lift his left hamstring onto a shelf to put his sock on.

The Chicago White Sox are hopeful Thome's injury will not prevent him from helping carry them to the playoffs so they can defend their World Series title.

Thome limped off the field in the second inning of a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night, and manager Ozzie Guillen expects the designated hitter to miss only the series finale in the Motor City.

Power Struggle:
AL Central leaders vs. each other (since All-Star break)
Minnesota Twins
CWS: 5-1
DET: 3-3
Detroit Tigers
MIN: 3-3
CWS: 4-5
Chicago White Sox
DET: 5-4
MIN: 1-5

"The good news is it's not a big deal," Guillen said.

Thome isn't so sure.

"I don't think it's a cramp because a cramp usually goes away," he said. "There's probably a strain in there.

"I've never had a hamstring injury. We'll think the best, re-evaluate it and do our best to get back as quick as possible."

The White Sox lost the first two matchups in the four-game series with the AL Central-leading Tigers, but bounced back with Joe Crede's two home runs and Jermaine Dye's three-run homer.

"It was definitely big for us, especially at this time of the year and chasing the Tigers," Crede said. "It's good that we gained a game on them.

"We have a lot of games left. It will be fun to see what happens."

Chicago, which had lost six of eight, trails the Tigers by 6½ games in the division and has a half-game lead over Minnesota in the wild-card race. The Twins travel to play the White Sox this weekend.

Guillen said regardless of how the series in Detroit ends, if the White Sox win 95 games they will make the playoffs.

The White Sox added Thome last winter and after watching him hit .294 with 36 homers and 91 RBI, they don't want to lose him for any length of time with less than six weeks left in the season.

Thome pulled up after rounding first base on an RBI ground-rule double and favored his left leg.

"He's going to be day by day," said Guillen, adding he will not count on Thome to play Thursday.

Dmitri Young hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who failed to rally for a late-inning win like they often have this season.

The White Sox went ahead 6-3 with three runs in the second and maintained their three-run lead until the sixth.

Sean Casey, the first to face reliever Matt Thornton, hit a two-run double to pull Detroit within a run. Crede bumped the lead back to two runs in the seventh with his second homer.

Freddy Garcia (12-8) allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"We had some good opportunities and didn't capitalize," Casey said.

Thornton and Mike MacDougal combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before Bobby Jenks worked the ninth for his 36th save in 38 opportunities.

Rookie Zach Miner (7-5) gave up six runs, four hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings, his shortest outing and third straight loss.

In the first, Miner was a strike away from retiring the side in order -- instead of giving up three runs in the inning. Thome drew a two-out walk after facing an 0-2 count, Paul Konerko followed with a single and Dye's 35th homer gave Chicago a 3-0 lead.

"I lost myself there," Miner said. "Two-out walks will get you in trouble every time."

Chicago lost the cushion briefly in the bottom half when Craig Monroe doubled and scored on Young's homer and Magglio Ordonez doubled and scored on Ivan Rodriguez's single.

"It would've been easy to say, 'Here we go again,'" Guillen said.

Crede's leadoff homer in the second put the White Sox ahead for good. Crede connected on a low pitch that he appeared to hit out with one hand.

"If you make a pitch in that location, it shouldn't leave the park," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Game notes

Crede has 101 career homers -- 20 against Detroit. ... The Tigers guaranteed this would not be the 13th straight losing season with Tuesday's win, but Leyland wasn't impressed. "I didn't come here to finish .500," he said. "Obviously this is my last go-around, so I came here to give it my best shot and I hope we win something." ... The Tigers drew their 19th sellout in 29 games during a stretch when they had been ignored by fans in recent years.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press