Tigers extend division lead

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO – It was Magglio Ordonez’s turn to lay a big hurt on his former team, the Chicago White Sox.

Ordonez hit a pair of homers and Kenny Rogers pitched six shutout innings while battling the flu Monday night, sending the Detroit Tigers to an 8-2 victory and increasing their lead in the AL Central.

“Every game is important,” Ordonez said.

“You’ve got Minnesota and the White Sox. We’ve got a chance now, but we’ve got to keep going. We have 12 games left. A lot of things can happen,” he added.

Ordonez’s two homers off Mark Buehrle – who gave up hits to the first four batters he faced before a triple play bailed him out – came right after another former White Sox star, Frank Thomas, homered Saturday and Sunday as Oakland swept Chicago.

“They’ve done it their whole careers. Just because they’re wearing another uniform doesn’t change anything,” Buehrle said.

“I haven’t hit many home runs in Chicago in the last two years, so this was nice.

It was nice to do something to help us win,” Ordonez said.

The Tigers lead Minnesota, which was idle Monday night, by 11/2 games in the division and are six games ahead of the defending World Series champion White Sox, whose return to the playoffs is in deep jeopardy after a sixth loss in eight games.

“We need next to a miracle to probably catch them division-wise, but we’re not eliminated from the wild card yet,” Chicago’s Paul Konerko said.

“That’s how we have to look at it,” he added.

Rogers (16-6) allowed just four hits, escaped several jams and is 5-1 over his last nine starts.

He improved to 3-1 against the White Sox this season and has allowed three earned runs in 33 innings against Chicago.

He was too sick to come back out for the seventh inning.

“After the sixth inning he just said his legs gave out, so we had to make a move,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

“I was trying to get more out of him if I could. … He was spent,” he added.

Jim Thome’s 40th homer, a solo shot off Fernando Rodney in the eighth, ended the Tigers’ shutout bid.

Pinch-hitter Josh Fields homered in the ninth in his first big league at-bat for the White Sox.

Craig Monroe also connected off Buehrle (12-13) in the first. Buehrle, just 3-7 in the second half, gave up 10 hits and four runs in six 2-3 innings.

Detroit’s first four batters got hits off Buehrle in a span of nine pitches.

Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff double and Monroe followed with his 26th homer.

After singles by Marcus Thames and Ordonez, Carlos Guillen hit a broken-bat, soft liner on a 3-2 pitch that Chicago third baseman Joe Crede caught as the runners were breaking.

He threw to second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, who stepped on the bag to double off Thames and then tagged Ordonez to complete the White Sox’s second triple play of the season.

Ordonez homered in the fourth and fifth innings, his 21st and 22nd of the season.

Brandon Inge added a three-run drive off Chicago reliever Brandon McCarthy in the ninth for his 25th homer.

The White Sox had two runners on in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings but twice Rogers induced double-play grounders to escape and another time struck out A.J. Pierzynski.

The Tigers turned a third inning-ending double play in the eighth.