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Tigers cripple White Sox hopes, maintain AL Central lead

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers have been atop the AL Central
since May 16. They're refusing to budge now.

Their 10-game lead from early August has nearly evaporated, but
their playoff hopes are as strong as ever after they beat the
Chicago White Sox 6-2 on Wednesday night.

"We feel comfortable, but at the same time we can't feel too
comfortable. We have another team behind us that's playing really
well," Curtis Granderson said after getting three of the Tigers'
14 hits.

Detroit still leads Minnesota by one-half game in the division
after the Twins beat Boston 8-2 on Wednesday night.

"Any way to go in. If it happens to be on top, that's a plus,"
Granderson said, referring to the possibility of winning the wild
card. "But any way it happens is OK with us."

The Tigers won two of three in Chicago and all but ended the
defending World Series champions' chances of returning to the
postseason.

Detroit's Magglio Ordonez homered Wednesday night -- his third of
the series against his former team -- and so did Ivan Rodriguez.

The White Sox lost for the fifth time in six games. With 10
games left, they trail the Tigers by six games in the division and
Minnesota by 5½ for the wild card.

"It's not impossible, but it's hard. It's not over yet, but
obviously we're climbing a real tough wall," White Sox manager
Ozzie Guillen said.

Jeremy Bonderman (13-8), just 1-4 in his 10 previous starts,
allowed five hits in six innings with a walk and two strikeouts. He
took a 4-0 lead into the sixth before surrendering solo homers to
Juan Uribe and Tadahito Iguchi.

"We haven't done anything yet but put ourselves in a decent
position. That's all we've done," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
"We have 10 left. We have to win enough to get in."

Joel Zumaya pitched hitless ball for two innings and Todd Jones
worked a scoreless ninth.

The Tigers had three straight hits to open both the third and
fifth innings and built a four-run lead against Jon Garland (17-6),
who failed for a second straight start to get his 18th win and
match his total of last season.

Garland gave up 12 hits and five runs in seven-plus innings and
left after giving up Ordonez's 23rd homer in the eighth.

"Terrible," he said, describing his outing.

Garland was just as blunt assessing the White Sox's slim chance
of making it to the postseason.

"We have to win out and hopefully they lose some games,"
Garland said. "With the way Minnesota has played, it's highly
unlikely, but you never know."

Marcus Thames reached on an infield single to shortstop leading
off the third and scored on Brandon Inge's RBI double to
right-center, which was followed by another run-scoring double from
Granderson.

Inge and Granderson singled in the fifth, Rodriguez hit an
RBI-double and Sean Casey delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Uribe led off the bottom of the sixth with his 19th homer,
trimming the lead to 4-1. One out later, Iguchi hit his 17th, a
drive to right-center that was just out of the reach of a leaping
Granderson.

But Bonderman, as he did most of the night, was able to regroup
after giving up a single to Jermaine Dye following Iguchi's homer.
He struck out Jim Thome and got Paul Konerko on a fielder's choice
grounder.

"Any time you get to September, you have something to play for
and you're leading your division, it doesn't get much better than
this," Bonderman said.

Ordonez, who homered twice in Detroit's 8-2 series-opening
victory Monday, drove a pitch from Garland over the center field
fence to make it a three-run game. Rodriguez added his 12th homer
in the ninth off Neal Cotts.

Game notes
Chicago's Joe Crede hit into three double plays, including
the one that ended the game. ... Detroit headed to Baltimore for a
makeup game Thursday before going to Kansas City for three games.
The Tigers then finish the season at home against Toronto and
Kansas City. ... Chicago plays four games against Seattle at home
before closing the season on the road at Cleveland and Minnesota.
... Garland dropped to 12-6 lifetime against the Tigers. ... The
White Sox won the season series 12-7. ... The two homers gave the
Tigers 115 on the road this season -- a club record. The previous
mark was 114 set two years ago.