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Ramirez grand slam keeps White Sox alive


Ramirez grand slam keeps White Sox alive
CHICAGO (AP) - Alexei Ramirez spread his arms wide and raced around the bases like a little kid. The White Sox would play one more day.

Ramirez set a rookie record with his fourth grand slam of the season, and Chicago beat Detroit 8-2 in a rainout makeup Monday, forcing a one-game tiebreaker against Minnesota for the AL Central title.

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The Twins will visit the White Sox on Tuesday night, with John Danks starting for Chicago on three days' rest against Nick Blackburn. The division champ begins the playoffs at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

A day after the regular season ended for everyone else, the White Sox and Twins found themselves tied at 88-74.

Washed out earlier this month, Chicago and Detroit waited through a rain delay of more than three hours before starting. Gavin Floyd (17-8) won on three days' rest - short rest has been successful trend for many teams in the stretch.

The loss left the Tigers in last place, capping a season they began with hopes of reaching the World Series.

Detroit, with nothing really to play for, took a 2-1 lead into the sixth. But former White Sox ace Freddy Garcia, who'd allowed only two hits to that point, had to leave with tightness in his right shoulder with a runner on second and no outs.

And then things got wild.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland summoned Armando Galarraga (13-7) - the team's best starter this season - and he threw two wild pitches that allowed the tying run to score.

After Jermaine Dye walked, Bobby Seay relieved and threw Detroit's third wild pitch of the inning.

Jim Thome struck out, but after an intentional walk to Paul Konerko, Seay also walked Ken Griffey Jr. to load the bases.

Ramirez sent the first pitch from Gary Glover, another former White Sox pitcher, into the left-center field bleachers, setting off a happy trip around the bases for the rookie from Cuba, whose nickname is "The Cuban Missile."

Ramirez clapped his hands in glee and leaped into the arms of Konerko at the plate as a crowd announced at 35,923 cheered.

A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI double in a two-run eighth.

Floyd gave up five hits and one earned in six innings. He struck out eight and walked two while throwing 118 pitches.

Floyd's error helped Detroit take a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Miguel Cabrera doubled with one out before Marcus Thames hit a hard liner that White Sox third baseman Juan Uribe snagged for the second out.

When Ryan Raburn hit a slow roller between the plate and mound, Floyd bobbled the ball while reaching down to pick it up and threw high past Konerko at first, allowing Cabrera to score.

Chicago scored in the first but had a much bigger inning brewing when the first three batters reached against Garcia. He walked Orlando Cabrera and DeWayne Wise before Dye hit an RBI single, but retired the next three batters.

Detroit tied it in the fifth as Raburn singled, stole second and scored when Brandon Inge doubled to left over the leaping Wise.

After his early struggles, Garcia rebounded, retiring 11 straight before Griffey singled with two outs in the fourth.

Garcia was 40-21 with Chicago from 2004-06 and won three games in the postseason of 2005, including the clinching Game 4 of the World Series. He is close friends with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and they texted each other leading up to the game.

Guillen warned that the White Sox had better "be ready for Freddy."

Garcia was traded to the Phillies after the 2006 season for Gio Gonzalez and Floyd, and both of the starters wore jersey No. 34 on Monday. Garcia, who had shoulder surgery in August 2007, signed a minor league contract with the Tigers on Aug. 14 of this year and was making his third start for Detroit.

Notes

  • 3B Inge made a dive into the stands for a great catch of Uribe's pop to end the second.

  • Ramirez's grand slam was Chicago's 12th of the season, setting a club mark.

  • Tigers star Gary Sheffield finished the season with 499 homers.

  • Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: September 30, 2008

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