Thome's early three-run homer paces ChiSox's win over Tigers

CHICAGO (AP) -- John Danks was so good on Wednesday night, White Sox catcher Toby Hall decided to stop calling curveballs.

Why torment the Tigers?

"I just felt after the first inning that he had good command of his [other] three pitches and we decided to get rid of one," Hall said.

Jim Thome hit a three-run homer and Danks worked efficiently into the seventh inning, helping the Chicago White Sox to a 5-1 victory over Detroit on Wednesday night.

The White Sox remained a game ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, while the Tigers dropped 8 1/2 games out of first place -- the farthest back they've been since trailing by nine games on June 11.

Danks (9-4) allowed one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings, giving the White Sox a lift after they used seven relievers in a 14-inning win over Detroit the previous night. Danks struck out six and walked one, leaving to a standing ovation in the seventh.

"My goal was to get us deep in the game, obviously. We used every arm [Tuesday] night. I knew guys would be down, kind of achy today and my goal was to get us in the seventh, eighth inning with the lead," Danks said.

"Also noticed that Minnesota won. I wasn't thinking about it on the mound, but before the game I saw they were going to close out Seattle there and it was a big game for us and fortunately it worked out."

D.J. Carrasco got one out in relief, Octavio Dotel pitched a perfect eighth and Bobby Jenks a scoreless ninth to preserve the win.

"If we want to make any kind of run, which we still have a chance to do, sooner or later you got to do it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "And we haven't done it."

Chicago was without manager Ozzie Guillen, who served the last game of a two-game suspension for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons and his comments Sunday, after the Royals and White Sox were involved in a bench-clearing brawl. Guillen watched the game in a suite.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander got into trouble right from the start.

Nick Swisher drew a one-out walk and Carlos Quentin singled before Jermaine Dye grounded a ball to third base. Carlos Guillen fielded it and threw to Placido Polanco covering second, but Quentin broke up the potential double-play and Dye was safe at first.

Thome followed by hitting a 0-1 pitch opposite field to left, his 22nd homer of the season and 529th of his career, giving the White Sox an early 3-0 lead.

"He threw me a fastball the first pitch," Thome said. "He doubled up and he threw it there and I was fortunate to hit it and got good wood on it and it got out."

Verlander (8-12) settled down after that, retiring 12 in a row. He wound up allowing five runs and six hits with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks. Verlander threw a season-high 130 pitches before leaving with the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth.

Verlander dropped to 2-8 with a 6.01 ERA against the White Sox in his career.

The biggest mistake this night, though, was the pitch to Thome.

"With guys on base and two outs I wanted to make him go get something. It was a hair up and he did what good hitters do. He's got 500-some odd home runs for a reason," Verlander said. "Tonight I could have easily give up zero runs."

Alexei Ramirez added some insurance after Verlander left the game. Ramirez greeted Tigers reliever Aquilino Lopez with a two-run single to make it 5-1.

Magglio Ordonez doubled in the seventh and scored on Gary Sheffield's RBI single for the Tigers' only run.

Game notes
After making his first appearance at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night, Ken Griffey Jr. got the night off after going 1-for-6 with three strikeouts. ... Tigers CF Curtis Granderson was out of the starting lineup. Granderson is 0-for-9 against Danks in his career. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning and struck out. It snapped his 14-game hitting streak.