Floyd starts strong then fades in return

Gavin Floyd was sharp through four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth on Wednesday. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

CHICAGO -- The return of starter Gavin Floyd to the mound was of little consequence after the Detroit Tigers’ 8-6 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday.

Floyd, who was making his first start after 17 days on the disabled list, was dominant through four innings, striking out seven. By the fifth inning his rust became evident. Omar Infante’s groundout scored Brennan Boesch, and Austin Jackson’s RBI single scored Jhonny Peralta for a 2-1 Tigers lead. Sox manager Robin Ventura turned to Hector Santiago, who allowed an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera with the run charged to Floyd.

The victory pulled the Tigers to within one game of the AL Central-leading Sox, and it leaves the rotation and bullpen in a state of flux.

“When it works you win games,” Ventura said of his overworked bullpen. “When it doesn’t it becomes harder to win games. Relieving is a tough thing to do because it is right in front of you. It is a tough job.”

Offensive malfunctions and a gassed group of pitchers are cause for concern. On Thursday, Chris Sale opposes Justin Verlander in the final game of this crucial final matchup as the Sox try for a series split.

“We have our ace going,” said Floyd, whose team has lost nine of their last 10 games against the Tigers. “Whatever happened in the past (two games) is in the past. We are in a good position and there is still a lot of baseball left even after this series.”

Two home runs by Kevin Youkilis were not enough to turn back the resurgent Detroit offense, which had scored a total of six runs in its previous four games before the Sox series. The Tigers have now won 12 of the 17 games against the Sox.

Although the Sox fought back, scoring five times in the last two innings, there was little good to take out of the loss other than the return of Floyd.

“There are no moral victories anymore,” A.J. Pierzynski said. “It is about winning or losing. Someone once said you play to win the game, and that’s it .There is no such thing as a moral victory. We need to come out and win the game (Thursday). Then we are right back where we started this series with four less games on the schedule.”