White Sox manager Jerry Manuel made a bold prediction before Friday's against the Detroit Tigers, bold because the bottom-hugging Tigers have baseball's worst record but had a winning mark against the Sox.
"I say we still have six games left with the Tigers and I project we'll win the next six. I say we're going to win all of them," Manuel announced, then added in a touch of massive understatement, "We should. We need to."
The Sox backed up Manuel's forecastfor nowsurviving a four-run Detroit rally in the seventh for a 7-5 victory before a crowd of 18,868 that ended a run of four straight losses to the lowly Tigers.
"It was good to get this one because it's seemed like Detroit had our number sometimes," starter Mark Buehrle said.
The victory gave Buehrle (8-10), who last lost June 11, six victories and a no-decision in his last seven starts. His turnaround has come with making small changes, nothing radical in a panic.
"I thought there were times this year when he pitched well and it was just hard luck," Manuel said.
The Sox built a 5-0 lead through the fifth, then seemed to coast a bit until the Tigers nearly overtook them.
They started the scoring when Sandy Alomar Jr. doubled to open the third. Roberto Alomar, who reached base four times, followed with a perfect drag-bunt single, sending his brother to third, Carlos Lee's long sacrifice fly to right sent Sandy Alomar home.
Detroit starter Matt Roney (1-4) balked Roberto Alomar to second. Magglio Ordonez then made the margin 2-0 when he creased a single to center and took second on a poor throw to the plate. Paul Konerko shot a single to left-center to score Ordonez.
Joe Crede led off the fourth with a double to the left-field corner and was sacrificed to third by Sandy Alomar. In a piece of alert baserunning, Crede tagged up and scored when Roberto Alomar fouled out to left-fielder Ben Petrick, who was forced to make a difficult running catch near the stands and could not get off a decent throw.
Konerko pushed the lead to 5-0 when he hit his sixth homer of the season into the seats in left in the fourth.
The Sox's defense helped with four double plays for the game, matching its high for the year. But a fielding breakdown in the seventh undid Buehrle.
Craig Monroe and Shane Halter opened the Detroit seventh with singles and moved up on a tap to second. Petrick grounded to short, scoring Monroe, and was safe and took second when Jose Valentin threw past first. Halter came across to make the score 5-2 on another grounder to second.
Ramon Santiago walked and he and Halter scored when a short pop to left eluded a diving Lee for a double, knocking out Buehrle and bringing on Damaso Marte to stop the rally. Buehrle, who was charged with just one earned run for his 62/3 innings, improved his career record against the Tigers to 8-3.
Lee gave the Sox some needed cushion with a double to left, scoring Roberto Alomar and Willie Harris, pinch-running for Sandy Alomar. Those runs proved vital when Pena homered to right with none out, bringing on Tom Gordon to close out the Tigers.
White Sox 7, Tigers 5