Rogers, Tigers Struggling

Kenny Rogers probably isn't happy with his last two starts. The Detroit Tigers surely aren't happy with their past two games.

The first-place Tigers try to avoid their first three-game skid in two months Wednesday night when they continue a five-game series against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Detroit was swept in a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, but it was the second game that was the far more disappointing of the losses.

A.J. Pierzynski's single hopped past shortstop Carlos Guillen, allowing the go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning, as the White Sox rallied from six runs down for an 8-7 victory in the nightcap.

The White Sox (45-55) scored twice in the sixth to pull within 7-3, and Jim Thome's three-run homer in the seventh made it a one-run game. Zach Miner gave up both runs in the eighth, magnifying Detroit's biggest weakness with set-up men Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney both out with injuries.

The bullpen meltdown cost starter Virgil Vasquez his first major league win.

"Obviously we should have won the game for him, but we didn't do it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

The first game wasn't nearly as eventful, as Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer to back another strong outing from Javier Vazquez in a 5-3 victory for Chicago, which snapped a four-game losing streak.

"To win two games against that team is pretty tough the way they've been playing and with their lineup," Pierzynski said. "We played a pretty good first game and the second game it looked like we were out of it."

Bobby Jenks saved both games of the doubleheader, his 27th and 28th of the season.

Thome finished 5-for-7 with a home run and three RBIs in the doubleheader following a 1-for-16 skid.

Detroit (59-40), a major league-best 33-19 on the road, had its lead in the AL Central cut to 1 1/2 games over Cleveland, which lost its second in a row Tuesday.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Detroit -135 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 86% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Tigers will turn to Rogers (3-2, 3.77 ERA) as they try to avoid their first three-game skid since May 30-June 1.

Since going 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his first three starts of the season, Rogers is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in two outings since the All-Star break. The left-hander was reached for six runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings Friday in a 10-2 loss to Kansas City.

Rogers is 13-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 28 career starts against the White Sox. He has been dominant in his last four starts against them, going 2-1 with a 0.35 ERA.

Jose Contreras (5-12, 5.76) hopes to end a personal five-start losing streak when he takes the mound for the White Sox. The right-hander has struggled mightily lately, going 0-5 with an 8.24 ERA in his last five outings and 1-8 with a 7.57 ERA over his past 10. Contreras was tagged for a season-high 10 runs and 10 hits in 7 1-3 innings Friday in a 10-3 loss at Boston.

Contreras' 21 losses since the 2006 All-Star break are the most in the majors during that span.

He gave up five runs and five hits over seven innings at Detroit on April 21, but didn't receive a decision in Chicago's 7-5 victory. Contreras is 8-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 17 career starts against the White Sox.

Guillen is batting .400 (12-for-30) with two home runs against Contreras.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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