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updated: 7/26/2011 11:23 PM

Sox take tough loss against Tigers

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  • Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, left, celebrates with Wilson Betemit after the Tigers' 5-4 win Tuesday over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, left, celebrates with Wilson Betemit after the Tigers' 5-4 win Tuesday over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

If the White Sox are lucky, this is how it's going to be for the rest of the season.

Back and forth. Slugging it out. Hoping for the best.

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Believe it or not, the Sox are still in the chase for the AL Central flag.

They are still alive, even though Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers in front of 28,093 at U.S. Cellular Field dropped their record to 50-52.

Wilson Betemit, who always has killed the Sox barring the partial season (2009) he played for the South Siders, did it again.

Betemit's two-out single off Matt Thornton in the eighth inning scored Andy Dirks from second base and propelled the Tigers to a 5-4 victory.

Why even pitch to Betemit, who is now batting .404 (19-for-47) with 7 doubles, 3 home runs and 10 RBI lifetime against the White Sox?

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he would have intentionally walked the third baseman had Thornton fallen behind in the count.

Instead, Thornton got ahead 0-2 and Betemit fouled off three straight pitches on a 1-2 count before lacing a single up the middle. That was it, and just like that the Sox are 4 games behind Detroit again.

"Good effort," Guillen said. "Today I think we went out there and fought. It was a pretty good game for both sides."

It could have been a great game for the White Sox, and they know it.

Facing Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Adam Dunn of all people put the Sox in front with a 2-run homer in the first inning.

Falling behind Verlander 0-2 with Paul Konerko on second base with a two-out double, you just knew what was K-oming.

Instead, Dunn battled his way back to a 3-2 count, fouled off three pitches and then crushed Verlander's 97-mph fastball deep into the seats in right-center.

"Guys like him, if you get on him and don't stay on him, they're going to shut you down," Dunn said. "That's what he did tonight."

Not exactly.

After the Tigers scored 3 runs in the top of the inning against a tiring Jake Peavy to go in front 4-2, Konerko came through with another 2-run homer off Verlander in the bottom of the sixth to tie it.

One more push would have done it for the White Sox, but Detroit shoved back and exploited a season-long trouble spot.

Victor Martinez drew a walk off Will Ohman to open the eighth inning, and Dirks came on to pinch run while Jesse Crain came on to relieve Ohman.

After Jhonny Peralta struck out, Dirks stole second base to get into position to score the winning run.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has thrown out just 10 of 74 base-stealers this season, and the Tigers exploited his throwing arm and the Sox' habit of not keeping runners close.

It was a difficult loss, without a doubt, but at least the White Sox still are alive to fight another day.

Starter John Danks has been brilliant lately, and he faces a potent offense Wednesday in another must-win for the White Sox.

"When you face the Tigers, their lineup is pretty good," Guillen said. "They know what they're doing, they're veteran players, and they're not going to get panicked. They make you pitch, and if you make a mistake, you're going to pay."

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