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updated: 8/31/2012 11:51 PM

White Sox continue to struggle at Detroit

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  • White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy looks at a ball after giving up a 2-run homer to the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in the first inning Friday night. Peavy fell to 9-10 with the loss.

      White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy looks at a ball after giving up a 2-run homer to the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in the first inning Friday night. Peavy fell to 9-10 with the loss.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox are going to return to U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night and still be in first place in the AL Central.

If the Sox don't tighten things up quickly, they'll come home tied with the Tigers for the division lead.

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In perhaps their worst all-around effort of the season, the White Sox lost to Detroit 7-4 Friday night at Comerica Park.

While they still lead the Central by 2 games, the Sox have lost five straight to the Tigers, and they're 3-16 in their last 19 at Detroit.

One of the better road teams in baseball through the first four months of the season, the White Sox suddenly have transformed into a powerhouse team at home and a pushover away from the Cell.

Friday night's loss leaves them 1-7 over their last eight road games.

The Sox have little choice but to keep pushing forward.

"The key right now is that we don't want to start pressing," third baseman Kevin Youkilis told reporters. "There are 30 games left in the season, and we need to take these games like they are the first week of April. If it is the last weekend of the season you might start pressing, but not now. There's a month left and we're in first place."

In their latest loss to the Tigers, the Sox played like a last-place team.

Let's start with the offense, which failed to make Detroit starter Doug Fister pay for an erratic outing.

"I wasn't real sharp, Fister said after pitching 5 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks.

The White Sox came in leading the majors with a .291 batting average with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-12 against Detroit.

"We had a lot of chances, but nothing was falling in," Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters.

The White Sox had Fister -- and the Tigers -- on the ropes in the fourth inning but came up virtually empty.

Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez led off with consecutive infield singles and Gordon Beckham loaded the bases when he sacrificed and reached first base on third baseman Miguel Cabrera's error.

Fister hit Dewayne Wise to force in Viciedo and make it a 3-3 game, but the Sox failed to do further damage.

White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy has been dealing with bad luck all season, and the trend continued Friday. But like Fister, Peavy (9-10) was not sharp. He allowed 6 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks in 6-plus innings.

"I didn't have much at all, so it was a battle from the start to just keep us in the game," Peavy said. "I got through the sixth, but it wasn't like I had great stuff in that inning, either."

In the seventh inning, Peavy was gone after walking leadoff hitter Andy Dirks and yielding a single to Cabrera.

Matt Thornton came on in relief and hit Price Fielder before Delmon Young snapped the 4-4 tie with a bases-clearing double.

"The big difference was that Young got the big hit that we didn't get," Ventura said.

Rosters can expand Saturday, and the Sox reportedly are bringing Dan Johnson up from Class AAA Charlotte. Johnson batted .265 with 28 home runs and 84 RBI this season.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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