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Tigers aren't making it easy on Sox

CHICAGO -- The pressure of this late-season pennant race impacts different players in different ways. Watching the Detroit Tigers hold serve before the Chicago White Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night did not make things any easier for Robin Ventura’s team.

The Sox manager admitted that all the games feel like must-wins.

“You feel that way,” Ventura said. “It is not like we are going to start Paul (Konerko) trying to steal bases. We are still playing baseball and doing what we can. If there is a chance to hit and run or move guys you do it, but you don’t just do crazy stuff just to do it.”

The White Sox have picked a bad time to play their worst baseball of the season. They have lost seven out of eight and have gone into an offensive slump.

“We are not out of this by any means,” said Adam Dunn, who had the game-winning home run in the only Sox win since Sept. 18, a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday. “We have seven games to turn that around. We just aren’t playing good. We have had our backs against the wall before and turned it around. I expect us do the same.”

The offensive collapse is surprising for a team that led the league in hitting with runners in scoring most of the season.

”We don’t have to do anything we aren’t capable of doing,” Dunn said. “We just have to do the things we have done most of the year. It is definitely the offense. We just are not scoring runs.”

The Sox are just 8-for-65 (.123 )with runners in scoring position in their past nine games, going 2-7, and they have left 58 men on base in that span.

“You realize where you are at and continue to play,” Ventura said. “Nobody has given up. You have to play hard and continue to do that. The effort has to be there so if you see any guys giving into that you have an issue with it.”