Cintron's three-run homer leads White Sox past Tigers

CHICAGO (AP) -- Alex Cintron noticed a pattern, and then it was just a matter of waiting for his pitch.

Cintron hit a three-run homer off reliever Fernando Rodney in the eighth inning to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 4-3 victory over the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.

"I figured him out," Cintron said. "He was throwing fastball, changeup, one after another. I was looking for the fastball."

With Detroit ahead 3-1, Rodney walked Jermaine Dye leading off the eighth and Joe Crede with one out. Cintron then hit a 3-2 pitch out to right for his first homer of the season, sending the second-place White Sox to their second victory in seven games.

Brandon McCarthy (3-3) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to get the win, and Bobby Jenks struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

Dye hit his 17th homer leading off the second inning for Chicago, which had lost seven of 10.

Rodney (4-2) had pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings over his previous five outings, before coming on to start the eighth. Until then, Nate Robertson was on his way to his sixth victory after allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings.

"He walked two guys and Cintron saw too many pitches, and that's basically the ballgame," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's that simple. Rodney has been brilliant all season long. You know one of these was going to happen."

Marcus Thames, Chris Shelton and Brandon Inge hit solo homers for the Tigers, who have lost seven of nine. They also lost catcher Ivan Rodriguez to lower back spasms.

The 12-time All-Star struck out to end the second and caught the bottom of that inning but did not come out for the third. Vance Wilson replaced him behind the plate.

Robertson left after Cintron walked leading off the seventh and second baseman Placido Polanco booted Scott Podsednik's grounder with one out, putting runners on first and second.

Joel Zumaya relieved, and Tadahito Iguchi singled to left to load the bases for Jim Thome.

Back in the lineup after missing a three-game series against Texas with a strained left groin, the slugger struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Paul Konerko then flied out to end the threat.

The next inning, an unlikely source supplied the big drive.

Cintron's homer was his first since Sept. 22, when he hit one for Arizona against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He started at shortstop because Juan Uribe's wife was expecting a baby.

"We've got some professional hitters -- [Rob] Mackowiak, Cintron, [Ross] Gload -- guys that aren't in there every day," Konerko said. "They're very good situational hitters. Other than Jim, I don't think we have guys who are the superstar, guys you appreciate watching one day. It's something you have to watch over time."

White Sox starter Freddy Garcia was shaky, throwing 118 pitches and allowing three runs and eight hits in six innings. But McCarthy had one of his best relief outings.

The White Sox were 2-4 before sweeping three games at Detroit in April and were slumping again heading into this one. Now a major league-best 21-8 at home, Chicago started this nine-game homestand by dropping two of three to Texas -- including a 10-2 pounding Sunday.

After allowing five runs in each of his previous two starts, Garcia had his usual troubles in the early going. He was fortunate to survive the first without giving up a run, after walking two batters and allowing a ground-rule double to former White Sox slugger Magglio Ordonez. But the Tigers left the bases loaded.

Thames, on an 8-for-18 surge entering the game, led off the second by driving a 1-2 pitch out for his 10th homer to extend his hitting streak to six. And with one out, Inge slugged his 12th to make it 2-0.

Tied for third in the AL in home runs when the day began, Dye hit a 1-1 pitch just beyond the left-field bullpen leading off the bottom half.

But Shelton hit his 12th homer leading off the fourth to increase Detroit's lead to 3-1.

It seemed safe after Thome and Konerko went down in the eighth. Then, Cintron struck.

"I know my job is to back up Uribe and Iguchi," he said. "In the playoffs, I'll be ready to help the team win."

Game notes
Rodriguez wasn't sure how he hurt his back and is day to day. ... The Tigers transferred pitcher Mike Maroth to the 60-day disabled list and purchased outfielder Alexis Gomez's contract from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday. Maroth went on the 15-day DL on May 26 -- one day after allowing six runs in one-third of an inning against Kansas City -- and underwent arthroscopic surgery last week to remove bone chips in his left elbow. ... Dye has reached base in his last 14 games.