It was hot against cold Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field and, considering the weather, the outcome was expected.
Cold won out.
American League's lowest-scoring and worst-pitching team, outscored the White Sox, baseball's highest-scoring team, 5-2.
The victory was only the second in 10 games for the Tigers and kept the Sox from moving into a first-place tie in the AL Central after they had won five of their previous six games.
"This is a good team and at some point we're going to get it going because we have to win," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
The White Sox were rather hoping the inevitable would wait until after this weekend but even Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't fooled.
"I guarantee you those guys have enough talent to bounce back and be where they're supposed to be," he said.
Guillen changed his lineup, sitting leadoff hitter Nick Swisher, tied for the league lead in walks, because of a sore hip and A.J. Pierzynski, the league's leading hitter, so he could catch Saturday.
And then the Sox were forced to play half the game without designated-hitter Jim Thome, ejected in the fifth inning for vehemently arguing plate umpire James Hoye's called third strike. Thome, who had been ejected only twice previously in his 15-year career, even tossed a drinking cup onto the field before exiting the dugout. He was not available immediately after the game.
"You eject Jim Thome, that's a guy who never says anything to anybody," Guillen said. "But you're not supposed to argue with [strike] calls."
Teammate Paul Konerko was surprised.
"It's kind of like seeing your father get upset," he said. "He got his money's worth."
Thome's ejection came while the Sox were mounting a rally, but instead they left the bases loaded.
The game didn't start out that way. Detroit's Dontrelle Willis slipped on the mound and was forced to leave the game after walking his only two batters. The much-maligned Tigers' bullpen held the Sox to only two runs, one of those charged to Willis on Konerko's sacrifice fly.
The Sox also scored in the second when Brian Anderson, starting for Swisher, singled and scored on base hits by Toby Hall and Carlos Quentin.
Anderson had one of the Sox's four hits in his first start, and only fourth game, of the season after he ranked among Cactus League leaders in average, homers and RBIs.
"It feels really good," Anderson said. "It's good to go out there and get some consecutive at-bats.
Sox starter Jose Contreras allowed three runs in a shaky third, but said he "felt overall my outing was strong."
So did Guillen.
"He pitched good," Guillen said. "He kept our ballclub in the game. He couldn't get rhythm early in the game. I know he can pitch better."
He pitched just well enough to lose, not getting much help from his offense.
"I respect the Detroit lineup," Contreras said. "I don't believe in small enemies. I take no one for granted."
On a night of cold, wet and wind, Guillen decided to hold out Swisher, who had batted leadoff every other game. Swisher did bat once for Thome and struck out.
"I'm with Ozzie on this one," Swisher said. "If he says I need to take a day off to get a little healthier, then I'm all for it. I feel fine, just one more day."
Tigers 5, White Sox 2
Thome tossed, revamped lineup fails to recover
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