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updated: 9/12/2012 11:15 PM

Sox get no relief from hungry Tigers

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  • White Sox second baseman Orlando Hudson talks to the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera Wednesday during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field.

      White Sox second baseman Orlando Hudson talks to the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera Wednesday during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field.
    associated press

 
 

A nice crowd of 30,667 showed up at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night for the third of four White Sox-Tigers games.

Fans were into the game early, as starting pitcher Gavin Floyd came off the disabled list and breezed through Detroit's lineup while striking out seven through 4 scoreless innings.

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And the crowd really revved up in the bottom of the fourth when Kevin Youkilis broke out of a 3-for-35 slide with a solo home run off Tigers starter Max Scherzer (16-6).

By the time Youkilis hit his second homer of the game, a 3-run shot off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning, there were only about 3,667 in the stands.

In between, the Tigers overpowered Floyd and a string of ineffective relief pitchers, and hung on for an 8-6 win.

Orlando Hudson did represent the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but he took a called third strike from closer Jose Valverde to end the game.

"We're not quitting at any point," manager Robin Ventura said after the Sox' AL Central lead over the second-place Tigers dropped to 1 game.

Blame Ventura for making too many pitching changes and inserting the wrong reliever at the wrong time.

In hindsight, Ventura would have been wise to avoid using Francisco Liriano during Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Tigers.

On Wednesday night, Ventura called on Leyson Septimo instead of Donnie Veal with two on and two outs in the seventh inning.

With Detroit holding a 3-1 lead, Prince Fielder jacked a 3-run homer off Septimo, sending much of the crowd scurrying for the parking lot.

"There comes a time when it seems we're using Donnie every night," Ventura said. "Prince has seen him a few times and we wanted a different look."

Fielder sure got a good look at Septimo, drilling a 3-1 pitch deep over the right-field wall.

"That's just part of baseball," Ventura said. "You've got to come in and try to do it. When it works, you win games. When it doesn't, it becomes harder to win games.

"Relieving's a tough thing to do because it's right in front of you. If you get the guy out, you did your job. If you didn't, it looks like you didn't."

Youkilis' 2 homers accounted for 4 of the White Sox' 6 runs.

But if the Sox want to hang on and win the Central and make any noise in the playoffs, they have to start manufacturing more offense.

"We're better when we're scoring on a basehit and things like that and then getting a home run," Ventura said. "If we're just relying on home runs, it's a little hit and miss."

The best clutch-hitting team in baseball the first five months of the season, the White Sox have suddenly tightened up in September.

Over their last 12 games, they are 22-for-112 (.177) with runners in scoring position.

"It's just up to each guy to know you have a plan and implement that the best you can," Paul Konerko said. "There are times when pitchers throw through that and get you out. You just have to know you're doing the right thing up there. Things go in cycles."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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