DETROIT -- Sometimes the party guest doesn’t get the hint that it’s time to go home.
Those slim hopes the White Sox carried around were all but dashed after the Tigers rose up Saturday and won in dramatic fashion with two home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
In a season void of a defining moment, the White Sox have one now. It just wasn't the kind they hoped for. The Tigers erased a seven-run deficit and won 9-8 on a game-ending home run.
“It doesn’t matter how it shook out,” captain Paul Konerko said. “It doesn’t matter if it was a see-saw battle or any way it happened. The end result was a loss and that’s that.”
The White Sox might have four games remaining against the Tigers this season, but their deficit in the division is 7½ games now and the way the Tigers put together Saturday’s rally let it be known that they don’t plan on stumbling any time soon.
A White Sox bullpen that had been so steady all season was humbled when it allowed five runs. Will Ohman gave up one, Chris Sale gave up another and Sergio Santos gave up three that will probably be burned on his brain for some time.
There was even a 36-minute rain delay in the late innings, but the Tigers’ comeback momentum could not be slowed.
Santos hadn’t given up a run in a major-league record 25 road games this season, but that run ended when Ryan Raburn crushed a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth with the White Sox two outs from victory.
Santos moved one out from extra innings before Miguel Cabrera crushed an equally impressive shot into the left-field seats to win it.
It might have been a one-run defeat for the White Sox, but the Tigers made it clear these teams are now miles apart.
“You let 24 other guys on your team down,” said Santos, apparently so rattled that he forgot the expanded roster was at 30 now. “So that’s the hard part about it -- those guys. It’s been a long day and they busted their tails and played very well. For me to mess up that one inning, it’s tough.”
Santos stood and answered each and every question sent his way, revealing that the only solace he could take from such a massive meltdown was that he might be able to use it as a learning experience in the future.
“Not what you want to do when you’re trying to catch a team that’s hot,” Santos said. “So it’s tough, but I’ll learn from this and move on.”
After a defeat to the Tigers on Friday, the White Sox were telling anybody who would listen that as silly as it sounded there was still time. The tone changed considerably after getting punched in the teeth by the Tigers.
“This one is very painful,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “This game was huge for us. It was a very important game. When we have a (big) lead, we feel like we have a shot. Our bullpen has been great all year long.
“That’s the type of ballclub that they are right now playing very well. You can’t take anything for granted. Those guys are professional hitters out there. They show today how good they are.”