Playing against a legitimate American League Central contender for the first time this year, the Tigers lost to the White Sox 5-4 tonight. Chad Durbin pitched reasonably well for 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, both of them home runs, and the Tigers led 4-2 going into the sixth. However, Durbin loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth and Jason Grilli gave up a single which tied the game 4-4. Grilli gave up another run in the 7th on a single by Darin Erstad and the White Sox had a 5-4 lead.
The Tigers had a chance to tie it in the 9th against closer Bobby Jenks. With two outs, Placido Polanco doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. Then, with 40,000 fans chanting "Gary Gary Gary", Gary Sheffield struck out against some masterful pitching by Jenks.
The hit for Polanco gave him 2 for 5 for the game and raised his league leading batting average to .382. This year he is hitting like the team MVP many said he was last year when he really wasn't. He is hitting the ball harder this year and is even showing a little power lately with 3 extra base hits in his last 3 games. Carlos Guillen added 2 hits with 2 RBI and a stolen base.
Aquilino Lopez had his first appearance as a Tiger tonight and pitched well. In two innings of work, he allowed no runs on one hit and most importantly (given his track record) walked nobody.
Tomorrow, it will be Nate Robertson against Jose Contreras at 1:05. Since this game starts nearly 3 hours before the Fox game of the week, it will be televised on MLB Extra Innings. This is a pleasant surprise as Saturday afternoon games are generally blacked out.