Miguel Cabrera breaks ninth-inning tie with HR to help Justin Verlander, Tigers win

CHICAGO -- For the second straight night, Ozzie Guillen took his chances against Miguel Cabrera. This time, it turned out to be the wrong decision.

Cabrera hit a tiebreaking two-run homer with two out in the ninth inning, sending Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.

Austin Jackson opened the ninth with a triple against Jesse Crain (2-2), who nearly wriggled out of the jam. Don Kelly popped out and Brennan Boesch struck out before Cabrera hit a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence to put the Tigers ahead 4-2.

On Friday night, Guillen elected to pitch to Cabrera with a runner on. Sergio Santos ended up striking out Cabrera to end the game, securing a 6-4 victory.

"Cabrera is one of the best hitters in the game, but in the meanwhile there is a guy (Victor Martinez) behind that has been swinging the bat good against the White Sox," Guillen said. "We made the same decision last night. Tonight worked, today doesn't and I don't have any regrets."

Cabrera hit his third homer in the last five games.

"If they want to pitch to me, they pitch to me. I try and look for one pitch I can drive," Cabrera said.

Jose Valverde retired the White Sox in the bottom half for his 15th save in 15 chances. Alex Rios led off with a walk, but Valverde set down the next three batters to end the game.

Jackson had three hits and scored twice for the Tigers, who have won four of five. Verlander (6-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings to improve to 7-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his last seven starts against Chicago.

"I've just been throwing the ball better against these guys," Verlander said. "When I was younger I made a lot more mistakes, and in this park, these guys capitalize on mistakes. I limit my mistakes and it gives me a better opportunity to win against this team."

Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer for the White Sox, who had won a season-high four straight games.

Chicago wasted a chance to take the lead in the eighth. Brent Morel led off with a single and advanced to second on Juan Pierre's sacrifice. Alexei Ramirez followed with a single and third base coach Jeff Cox held Morel at third with one out.

Verlander struck out Carlos Quentin looking, then A.J. Pierzynski hit a bouncer up the middle. Verlander fell down as he fielded the ball, but got up and made the easy throw to first to get Pierzynski. He grinned as he walked off the mound.

"He is very good. I think he was throwing 99 in the eighth inning," Beckham said. "It's hard to hit a guy that's throwing 99 with the kind of breaking stuff he has and the off-speed stuff."

Verlander is 4-0 in his last six starts, a stretch that began with his second career no-hitter May 7 in Toronto. He allowed just four hits over 7 2/3 innings in Sunday's 3-0 win over Boston while throwing a career-high 132 pitches.

Jackson and Boesch combined to get the Tigers off to a fast start. Jackson led off the game with an infield single and Boesch's one-out drive to right off Edwin Jackson made it 2-0. It was Boesch's fifth homer of the season.

Jackson limited the damage by getting Alex Avila to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The White Sox tied it in the fifth inning. Brent Lillibridge led off with a comebacker off Verlander's foot. Detroit's ace didn't see the ball right in front of him, then picked it up and hurried his throw past Cabrera at first. The ball rolled down the right-field line and Lillibridge hustled into third on the error.

After Adam Dunn struck out, Beckham hit Verlander's first pitch into the left-field seats for his fifth homer.

The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to knock Jackson out of the game early. They left eight on in the first four innings and pushed Jackson's pitch count to 100 before he got an out in the fifth. Jackson struck out Don Kelly with a 95 mph fastball to end the sixth.

Jackson allowed seven hits and walked four in six innings, throwing 124 pitches.

"I looked up and I saw I had 60 pitches through two innings and knew from there on that it was going to be a battle," Jackson said. "The only thing you can do is go out there and fight it and I did that tonight and I just tried to keep the game close."

Chicago played without slugger Paul Konerko for the second straight game. Konerko was scratched Friday after undergoing a minor medical procedure to dislodge a loose fragment in his left wrist.

Guillen expects Konerko, who is experiencing soreness, to miss Sunday's game against the Tigers, but said he thinks he will be back Monday against the Mariners.

Game notes
Tigers LHP Phil Coke is expected to come off the disabled list and start Wednesday at Texas. ... The troubles continue for Dunn, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, dropping his average to .178. Dunn signed a $56 million, four-year contract with the White Sox over the winter.