About the only thing shrinking faster these days than the Stanley Cup TV ratings is the Tigers' lead in the AL Central.• For more of Jayson Stark's analysis, Click here.
Cintron followed up his three-run, go-ahead homer Tuesday night
with a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh Wednesday as the White
Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 to move within a half-game of the
lead in the AL Central."I don't feel like a hero. I think everybody did their job,"
Cintron said.Cintron has found himself in the lineup at shortstop for two
games in a row because Uribe is with his wife, who is expecting a
baby."We need him here. I'm taking advantage of the opportunity,"
Cintron said. "If they tell me to play tomorrow, I'll be ready to
play."Jose Contreras (6-0) won his 14th straight regular-season
decision dating back to last season and picked up his first victory
since coming off the disabled list May 21. He pitched seven
innings, giving up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits.
Contreras is 14-0 in his last 18 regular-season starts and hasn't
lost since Aug. 15 of last season."You start thinking about something so big, you're not going to
accomplish your goals," Contreras said of his long streak of
success.Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.Joe Crede, who made two errors on the same play to allow the
Tigers to tie the game in the top of the seventh, opened the bottom
half with a single to finish Justin Verlander (7-4).Rob Mackowiak sacrificed against reliever Jamie Walker to send
Crede to second. Cintron then lined a single to left, third base
coach Joey Cora waved Crede home and he made it easily when left
fielder Alexis Gomez fumbled the ball. Gomez was in left because
starter Craig Monroe had to leave the game in the third inning when
he sprained his ankle hitting the wall while attempting a leaping
catch of Scott Podsednik's triple."He charged the ball well, he just didn't field it clean,"
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said."It was pretty close. It's better to be aggressive," Cintron
said. "Things can happen, like there he missed the ball and he
couldn't throw it. That's what Joey likes to do, he likes to be
aggressive and I'll take it."Jim Thome hit his AL-leading 21st homer to give the White Sox a
3-2 lead in the sixth. Jermaine Dye's 18th homer tied the game in
the fourth. Granderson hit his ninth homer for Detroit, which has
lost eight of its last 10.Verlander, with some of his pitches clocked in the high 90s,
allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings plus. He figured
Crede, not known for his speed, might have been out on Cintron's
single."I'm thinking he's out," Verlander said. "It just so happened
that the ball scooted under Gomez's glove. That happens sometimes.
It's a tough break for us."The White Sox also had a shaky play in the field but were able
to overcome it.With two outs in the seventh and runners at first and second,
Magglio Ordonez grounded to the normally sure-handed Crede, who
fumbled the ball and then threw wildly past first for two errors as
Granderson scored the tying run, Placido Polanco went to third and
Ordonez advanced to second. After Carlos Guillen was walked
intentionally to load the bases, Marcus Thames lined out to Crede
to end the winning.The Tigers moved ahead in the fourth when Ordonez walked and
raced to third on Guillen's hit-and-run single to left before
Thames delivered a sacrifice fly. Chris Shelton followed with a
single but Gomez, popped out.
Veteran White Sox reliever Jeff Nelson said after the game
he would have surgery on the nerve in his elbow next week, a
procedure that will probably end his career. Recovery time is
expected to three months for the 39-year-old Nelson, who made six
appearances for the White Sox this season. ... Cintron was a
starter again because Juan Uribe was with his expectant wife. ...
Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez, forced to leave Tuesday night's game after
two innings with back spasms, didn't play. ... The White Sox put
struggling reliever Cliff Politte on the 15-day disabled list with
a sore shoulder and called up Sean Tracey from Triple-A. ... The
crowd of 37,612 pushed the White Sox's attendance to the 1 million
mark through 30 home dates. That's the quickest the White Sox have
reached 1 million in franchise history. ... Thome, who missed three
games over the weekend with a strained groin, homered for the first
time since hitting two on May 29. ... X-rays were negative on
Monroe's ankle and he will be re-evaluated Thursday.