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Scrambled finish ends right for Sox

New York YankeesChicago White SoxBobby JenksGavin FloydC.C. SabathiaA.J. PierzynskiDavid Wells

After the White Sox rearranged their rotation Wednesday night, they were forced to scramble more than they imagined.

It meant Jose Contreras making his first regular-season relief appearance in nearly four years. A.J. Pierzynski came off the bench in the ninth inning and hit a game-tying home run in the 12th.

And Juan Uribe was able to redeem himself for two errors when he cranked a two-run homer in the 13th off left-hander Aaron Fultz to give the Sox a 6-4 victory.

"The two errors were in the back of my mind," Uribe said. "I'm glad I was able to come through because I felt the game might have been different if I made those two plays."

Contreras pitched in relief for the first time in a regular-season game since Sept. 27, 2003 at Baltimore with the New York Yankees.

Contreras will rejoin the rotation Sunday against Seattle. His velocity was back at 94 m.p.h. after hovering around the 90-m.p.h. range during his seven-game losing streak.

"After the two innings [of relief], I felt great and I'm glad to have an opportunity to get back in the rotation," said Contreras, who snapped a seven-game losing streak and won in relief for the first time since April 14, 2003 against Toronto.

Before the game, the Sox announced that rookie John Danks would skip a start to preserve his left arm, with Gavin Floyd starting against Seattle on Saturday, followed by Contreras.

But Contreras was summoned to pitch the 12th and nearly took the loss when Uribe dropped Kenny Lofton's shallow pop while sprinting toward the left-field line. That enabled pinch-runner Josh Barfield to score the go-ahead run.

But Pierzynski ripped his second homer in four games to tie it off closer Joe Borowski.

Jon Garland pitched seven innings of three-run ball, marking the fifth consecutive game a Sox starting pitcher has allowed three or fewer runs.

But he was faced with a loss until Jermaine Dye hit a game-tying homer off reliever Rafael Betancourt in the eighth, ruining C.C. Sabathia's bid for his 15th victory. Dye's homer was his 23rd of the season and his 11th in the second half.

Closer Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth and now has retired a Sox-record 35 consecutive batters, moving him to within three of David Wells' AL record for the New York Yankees in 1998.

A firm comeback by Contreras would give the Sox at least six starters heading into the off-season, provided Floyd continues to make the progress he showed Sunday in a 3-1 victory at Detroit.

Starting pitching depth would give the Sox plenty of trade fodder to address other areas this off-season.

Manager Ozzie Guillen intimated that Contreras has an edge over Floyd because of his past contributions and experience, and there is more urgency to straighten out Contreras because the Sox owe him $20 million over the next two years.

"We have to get the best out of him because of that, of course," Guillen said of Contreras, who is 9-23 since the 2006 All-Star break as a starter. "We have two years and we're going to use him next year."

Danks, who has thrown 118 inning this season, might not pitch until at Seattle on Aug. 17-19.

"They're looking out for the best interests for me, and I can appreciate that," Danks said. "At the same time, it will be hard to sit and watch on Sunday. I'm not upset or mad about it. It's just part of the game, being new."

mgonzales@tribune.com

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