DETROIT -- Jim Thome looks like he's headed for a big season -- just ask Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
Thome has five homers after getting just seven in an injury-shortened final season in Philadelphia, which traded him to Chicago in November. He added a double and scored twice against the Tigers.
"He looks very healthy and strong to me," Leyland said. "Not having to go out on defense will be a big help for him during the year."
Contreras (1-0), who stretched his winning streak to nine games dating to last season, struck out two and allowed six hits and one walk.
"Today, I was ready from the get go," Contreras said through an interpreter. "I was ready from the start today. I wasn't ready from the first inning against Cleveland."
He gave up two runs to the Indians in the first inning of his first start this season and has only given up one since.
"Jose pitched a great ballgame and it carried over," said Thome, whose homer was the 435th of his career tying him with Manny Ramirez for sixth among active players.
Chris Shelton hit his major league-leading sixth homer of the season, a two-run shot, to pull the Tigers within one in the ninth. But Bobby Jenks recovered to get the next two outs for his third save.
"It was nice that we showed some fight at the end," Shelton said. "But we need to win these kind of games."
The defending World Series champions, who evened their record at 4-4 with their third consecutive win, also got two RBI and two hits from Paul Konerko.
Craig Monroe hit his third homer of the season and second in two games for Detroit. The Tigers have lost three straight after a 5-0 start.
Thome hit a one-out homer against Nate Robertson (1-1) in the fourth to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. He also doubled and scored on Konerko's two-run single in the sixth. Joe Crede drove in Konerko with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
"The double was bigger than the home run. ... That's why we got him," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said about Thome. "Hopefully, he stays hot."
Robertson allowed three earned runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking three.
"I wanted to go right at him," Contreras said. "Even though he hit the ball hard, I wanted to go right at him."
- Detroit LHP Mike Maroth's scheduled start on Thursday was moved back to Sunday because of elbow soreness. RHP Justin Verlander will start Thursday.
- Chicago LF Scott Podsednik broke a 1-for-26 slump by leading off the game with a double.
- SS Guillen made the Tigers' first error of the season when he dropped a throw from Shelton at first on an attempted force play.