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09/22/2013 5:45 PM EDT
No clincher for Detroit: White Sox beat Tigers 6-3
CHI WHITE SOX 6, DETROIT 3
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) -- Outside the Detroit clubhouse, inside a yellow
van parked in a loading area, a few boxes labeled "Dom Perignon"
provided a reminder of an opportunity missed - but not lost.
The Tigers fell short in their effort to clinch the AL Central
title during the final homestand of the season, losing 6-3 to
the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. There would be no
champagne-soaked celebration - only a resolute belief that
postseason baseball will be back in Motown this year anyway.
"Everybody wanted to clinch at home," Detroit's Brayan Pena
said. "But it doesn't matter how we do it. We just want to do
it, because if we do it, everybody knows that we're coming back
here. And those fans, they really deserve that."
Detroit needed a win and a Cleveland loss to wrap up the
division Sunday, and neither happened. So the Tigers' magic
number for the AL Central championship remains at two at the
start of a six-game road trip.
One thing is certain: Detroit's season will not be over after
162 games. The loss by Texas at Kansas City on Sunday means the
worst the Tigers can do is finish in a tie for a wild card.
Chicago's Erik Johnson (2-2) allowed two runs and nine hits in 6
2-3 innings in his fourth career start, and the White Sox held
on a day after blowing a six-run lead in the ninth inning
against the Tigers.
Anibal Sanchez (14-8) yielded four runs and eight hits in five
innings, taking his first loss since July 19.
Prince Fielder homered for the Tigers. Detroit was without
slugger Miguel Cabrera, who has been bothered by groin soreness.
Cabrera said he hopes he can play Monday.
The Tigers gave themselves a chance to clinch at Comerica Park
with a stirring comeback Saturday night, when they scored six
runs in the ninth inning to tie the game before winning 7-6 in
"No matter where we are, as long as we clinch and we get it
done, that'll let me know that postseason is there," outfielder
Torii Hunter said. "All I care about is the World Series. I
think if you set your goals high, and you chase the ultimate
goal, which is the World Series, I think everything else falls
Detroit never led Sunday, and by the middle innings the chances
of a postgame celebration were looking increasingly remote for
the defending American League champions.
"Disappointment is such a big word," Hunter said. "I don't know
if we're disappointed. We wish we could have had a chance to do
it here in front of the fans who have been supporting us all
Fielder tied it at 1 in the fourth with his 25th homer of the
year, but Chicago answered with three runs in the fifth. Center
fielder Austin Jackson got a bit of a late jump on Conor
Gillaspie's line drive, which sailed over his head for a two-run
triple. Avisail Garcia's RBI single made it 4-1.
Jeff Keppinger added a two-run double in the seventh.
There would be no big rally by the Tigers on this day. Detroit
did load the bases in the seventh, and Jackson hit a sacrifice
fly. Donnie Veal relieved Johnson and got Hunter, who was
pinch-hitting, to line out to end the inning.
On Saturday, the Tigers scored five runs in the ninth before an
out or a pitching change. This time, pinch-hitter Pena led off
with a double, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura immediately
pulled Veal. Matt Lindstrom got the final three outs, although
Detroit did manage another run.
"We had that feeling in the dugout," Hunter said. "Guys were
talking about it: `Uh oh. Can we do it two nights in a row?"'
The 23-year-old Johnson pitched six scoreless innings against
Minnesota in his previous start, and although he struck out only
one against the Tigers, he was able to avoid the big inning.
"He did a good job going against a tough lineup," Ventura said.
"He stayed out of trouble. That's great composure for a kid as
old as he is."
Sanchez had won seven straight decisions and entered with an
American League-leading ERA of 2.51, but he didn't look sharp.
Chicago took the lead right away when Sanchez allowed a one-out
single to Alexei Ramirez, threw a wild pitch and gave up an RBI
single to Garcia.
NOTES: Garcia, Keppinger and Detroit's Alex Avila had three hits
each. ... Detroit plays at Minnesota on Monday night, with RHP
Justin Verlander (13-12) taking on RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-13). ...
The White Sox host Toronto. Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (8-6)
faces LHP J.A. Happ (4-6).
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