CHICAGO (AP) -- Javier Vazquez is finally living up to the hype from his days in Montreal.
Paul Konerko hit a three-run home run and Vazquez pitched 7 2/3 solid innings to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.Jim Thome hit his 506th career homer for the White Sox, who have won eight of their last 12 games.Vazquez (15-8) won his most games since he went 16-11 in 2001 with the Expos."Obviously, everybody knows that we didn't do as a team what we were supposed to. But personally, I really needed a season like this," said Vazquez. "Since Montreal, I haven't had a season like this, so personally it is a little gratifying."One game after being eliminated from postseason contention, the defending American League champions dropped to 6-10 against the White Sox for the season.Magglio Ordonez, who is battling Ichiro Suzuki for the AL batting title was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ordonez moved his major league-leading batting average to .360. Ordonez won't play Saturday, but will play in Sunday's season finale.Tigers manager Jim Leyland will shut down Gary Sheffield for the final two games of the season. Sheffield is banged up with a shoulder injury."I'm not playing Sheffield. He's hurt. I'm going to put him on the shelf for the rest of the year," said Leyland.Scott Podsednik led off the third inning with a triple off Kenny Rogers. One out later, Thome walked and Konerko broke a 1-all tie with a three-run shot to give the White Sox a 4-1 lead. It was Konerko's 31st of the season and second in as many games.Vazquez allowed two runs and seven hits. He struck out nine with one walk and hit a batter. He led the White Sox pitching staff in wins and was one of the few bright spots of the dreaded 2007 season. He was 12-3 in his last 18 starts and won his last four straight decisions."The way he finished was amazing. He finished strong, he kept his tempo all year long. It was fun to watch this kid pitch this year," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.Bobby Jenks got three outs for his 40th save in 46 chances."You know what you're going to get from Bobby. That was the big highlight we had this year," said Guillen. "Every time Bobby is out there you feel pretty good yourself you're going to win the game.Rogers (3-4) pitched what may have been his final game with the Tigers. He becomes a free agent after the season."You never know what's going to happen. We'll see. Nothing's etched in stone anywhere," said Rogers. "I haven't decided one way or the other what I'm going to do or how I'm going to do it. We'll see. But I know I can still pitch, so that's a good thing."Rogers pitched 23 scoreless innings in the postseason last year and finished with a 17-8 record with a 3.84 ERA, but Rogers struggled through the 2007 season.The 42-year-old lefty made his 11th start after a blood clot in his shoulder kept him out until late June. Rogers' last win came on July 4. He is 0-4 with five no-decisions in that span.Rogers gave up four runs and seven hits. He walked six with one strikeout.Trailing 1-0 in the second inning, Darin Erstad scored on Toby Hall's single and Hall was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double.Thome gave the White Sox an insurance run with an opposite-field home run in the seventh inning off reliever Virgil Vasquez. It was Thome's 34th of the season.Vazquez's second pitch of the game hit Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco followed with a single. One out later, Ordonez doubled to left-center, Granderson scored and Polanco tried to score but was thrown out at the plate by Juan Uribe's relay throw.Polanco had an RBI double in the seventh inning off Vazquez.
Detroit SS Carlos Guillen will shift from shortstop to first base next season. ... Hall, the White Sox backup catcher, drove in his third run of the season and walked for the third time in 37 games. ... Vazquez's 213 strikeouts is sixth place in White Sox history for most strikeouts in a season.