CHICAGO -- Kenny Rogers appeared headed for an early exit. After giving up five straight hits over the first two innings, the 41-year-old lefty settled down and gave the Detroit Tigers the lift they needed to finally beat the Chicago White Sox.
"The first inning I struggled a little bit. I've been around long enough to know that wasn't the game," Rogers said after his seven strong innings, a two-run homer from Marcus Thames and some heads-up baserunning gave the Tigers a 6-2 win Thursday night.
"I started to get in the flow, getting some outs. I tried to make an adjustment and went from there," said Rogers, who retired the final 17 batters he faced.
"I got on a good roll after the first."
His seven innings included six hits, two runs, no walks and five strikeouts as he improved to 14-7 in his career against the White Sox.
"He pitched really well. His back stiffened on him late. He was probably OK, but I thought it was enough. ... He also reminded me he was 41 years old," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Detroit's win gave the Tigers a 1½-game lead and was its first in six tries against Chicago this season. The White Sox had won the first two games of the series by 4-3 scores after sweeping a three-game set in April.
"It's not a big deal that we won, just like it would not have been a big deal if we lost," Leyland said. "It was a good series in June."
After their initial burst that included six hit from the first nine batters, the White Sox's offense went flat.
"I don't know if we got overconfident," Konerko said of the team's early success against Rogers. "He turned it on and it was over after that."
Guillen dumped a soft RBI single to center to give Detroit a 3-2 lead and took second when Mackowiak threw to the plate. When Omar Infante hit a slow roller to short, Juan Uribe charged and threw to first, but Infante beat the throw and Guillen kept running, crossing the plate ahead of first baseman Konerko's throw home.
Thames then followed with a two-run homer to left, his 11th of the season and the major league-leading 19th surrendered this season by Jon Garland (4-3), who gave up nine hits and six runs in seven innings.
"We threw the ball to the wrong base and didn't hit the cutoff man. Those guys know how to play the game," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Guillen scores with a ground ball. That doesn't surprise me. ... It was a heads-up play."
Placido Polanco's second homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third, tied the game at 2-2.
Konerko's 16th homer just cleared the wall in right center and followed a two-out single by Jim Thome. The White Sox appeared on their way to an even bigger inning when Jermaine Dye followed with a single. But when third base coach Joey Cora waved him home, Dye was thrown out easily at the plate on a relay from second baseman Polanco when he tried to score on A.J. Pierzynski's double over Ordonez's head in right.
"He threw the ball perfectly. It was a little to the right, but I had plenty of time," Rodriguez said.
Curtis Granderson made a nice running catch before hitting the ball to rob Uribe of an extra-base hit in the fourth. Uribe, who missed two games to be his wife during the birth of their child, entered the game in the fourth after Joe Crede had to leave with irritation of the lower back.
Crede got back spasms during his first at-bat in the second inning and is day-to-day. Guillen said he expected Crede to be able to play by Saturday.
- Tigers OF Craig Monroe, who had to leave Wednesday night's game after spraining his ankle while hitting the left field wall chasing a ball, did not play.
- Garland is now 10-5 lifetime against the Tigers, including 1-1 this season. He got the victory April 13 despite giving up 13 hits and seven runs in five innings He threw 124 pitches Thursday night.
- The White Sox are debating whether to send struggling rookie CF Brian Anderson (.158) to the minors, but he will start Friday against the Indians and lefty Cliff Lee.