CHICAGO (AP) -- After starting the season as Chicago's fifth starter, Jon Garland resembles an ace these days.
Garland pitched his second straight four-hit shutout and became the first five-game winner in the American League, leading the White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 8-0 on Sunday."How many times was I the No. 5 guy in the rotation? Once. The first time through. That's what I tell people," Garland said. "I always said you could call me whatever number you want to call me. I'm going to go out there and do the best job I can."Coming off his 6-0 win over Oakland on Monday, Garland struck out six and walked one, extending his scoreless streak to 23 innings and lowering his ERA to 1.38. It was his third shutout and fourth complete game in 132 career starts.He has won seven straight starts dating to September."It was a matter of time," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Last year we gave him the opportunity to come out and be a real pitcher. In the past, he didn't have that opportunity."Garland became the first White Sox pitcher to pitch consecutive shutouts since Jack McDowell in September 1991. Garland didn't have his good fastball, so he mixed in his changeup and stayed ahead in the count. He threw his slider when he got behind hitters."He's probably as hot as anybody in baseball," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He's pitching with confidence, he's throwing more strikes."Before walking Vance Wilson with two outs in the ninth, Garland retired 14 consecutive batters. Garland then struck out Rondell White on his 107th pitch."If I keep locating my pitches, hopefully the success continues on and we keep winning," Garland said.Garland allowed just one runner past second base. He gave up back-to-back hits with no outs to Craig Monroe and Carlos Pena in
the fifth. With runners on first and third, Garland then retired Bobby Higginson and Ramon Martinez on popouts and struck out Jason Smith.In the fourth, Garland threw a pitch behind White, who responded by pointing his bat and yelling at the pitcher."He was trying to hit me," White said. "When I know someone's trying to hit me, I'm going to act that way every time."While players came onto the field from the dugouts and bullpens, no punches were thrown."No guy ever likes that. I wouldn't have like it if I was at the plate," Garland said. "Nothing against him. Nothing against the team."Tigers starter Wilfredo Ledezma had hit Paul Konerko in the third. The White Sox have had batters hit in eight of the last nine games.Timo Perez hit a two-run homer and Carl Everett added three RBI for Chicago, which at 18-7 has the best record in the major leagues.Ledezma (1-2) gave up six runs -- five earned -- six hits and four walks and two balks in five-plus innings.Joe Crede's sacrifice fly put Chicago ahead in the second, Perez drove in a run with a bunt single in the third and Everett hit a two-run single in the fourth.Pedro Lopez had an RBI single in the sixth for his first big-league hit, chasing Ledezma, and Everett hit a sacrifice fly off Matt Ginter. Perez added a two-run homer in the seventh.
White Sox infielder Willie Harris left the team for personal reasons and was expected back Tuesday. Harris, normally a second baseman, had been slated to make his third straight start at shortstop with Juan Uribe (groin) and Pablo Ozuna (wrist) nursing injuries. Lopez started at shortstop. ... Shortstop Carlos Guillen missed the game for the Tigers with a sore right hamstring. ... Detroit DH
Dmitri Young didn't play on Sunday because of the flu. ... The White Sox have led in all 25 games this season, tying the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers for the longest season-opening streak in the major leagues since 1900. ... White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye missed his second consecutive game because of the flu. ... Esteban Loaiza won his first five starts for Chicago in 2003.