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No sleep, no relief, no sweep for Sox
A 6:15 a.m. false alarm that sounded Sunday at the White Sox's team hotel was just the start of their tedious marathon.
In losing to the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings, they were constantly reminded that three-game sweeps are tough to achieve.
That point was driven home by Placido Polanco, whose 12th-inning single off Sox left-hander Boone Logan drove in the winning run.
"All losses [stink]," Logan said. "It doesn't matter if you won the first two games. You want to win all of them. … We gave ourselves a chance, and I didn't do it."
Last year, the Sox failed 11 times to complete three-game sweeps after winning the first two games. Sunday's loss especially hurt because the Sox overcame another first-inning deficit against 2006 American League Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander and eventually took the lead on Joe Crede's two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Aquilino Lopez.
The Sox's usually reliable bullpen was one out away from extending its winning streak to five games when Marcus Thames launched a two-run, game-tying homer off David Aardsma in the ninth.
"It breaks your heart," manager Ozzie Guillen said of the loss. "No doubt. But you can't do nothing about it but get ready for [Monday at Kansas City]."
Thames' homer snapped a streak of eight scoreless innings by the bullpen against the Tigers.
The relievers had a 4-0 record and 0.92 ERA in 16 appearances before Aardsma and Logan failed.
Aardsma also had his streak of 10 1/3 scoreless innings snapped.
"I just put it right down the middle for him to hit it," said a dejected Aardsma, who retired the first two batters in the ninth before Carlos Guillen hit a single that preceded Thames' homer.
"We had them right where we wanted them. … Unfortunately, we just gave it to them."
Aardsma was used as the closer because Bobby Jenks had pitched in three consecutive games and Guillen wanted to preserve setup men Mike MacDougal and Matt Thornton.
"It's always surprising when you have two out in the ninth and have a two-run lead and lose it," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "We made mistakes and lost it."
Thames' home run deprived Jon Garland of his first victory of the season. Garland recovered from a rocky first inning to retire 18 consecutive batters.
The Sox have been outscored 18-7 in the first inning this season. After Magglio Ordonez's single gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead, pitching coach Don Cooper visited Garland, who settled down thereafter. And the offense chipped away at Verlander, who was pulled after seven innings and 113 pitches.
After Crede's homer, however, the Sox wasted chances to pad their lead or regain it.
Paul Konerko had the second 0-for-6 performance of his career, striking out three times and hitting into an inning-ending double play in the ninth with Darin Erstad at third. Konerko is 1 for his last 11 with runners in scoring position.
The frustration continued in the 10th when Pierzynski bunted into a double play. Then, in the 11th, Juan Uribe was stranded at second base when Pablo Ozuna struck out and Jim Thome grounded to second. The Sox were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
The Tigers' winning rally started when Logan, making his third appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte, walked Ivan Rodriguez on four pitches. It was Rodriguez's first walk in 68 at-bats.
A sacrifice bunt and walk set up the game-winning hit down the left-field line for Polanco, who is batting .462 (18-for-39) at Comerica Park this season.