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Published: Saturday, 10/3/2009

Not yet for Detroit: Tigers lead over Twins is 1 game with 2 to go

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - Jake Peavy delivered the kind of performance the Detroit Tigers desperately need.

Peavy delayed Detroit's chance to move closer to the AL Central title, pitching the Chicago White Sox past the slumping Tigers 8-0 last night.

The Tigers, who couldn't take advantage of an opportunity Thursday to win the division with a win over Minnesota, heard a smattering of boos during their series opener against the White Sox.

"For the last day or so, they've been disappointed," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Most people when they're disappointed, they express their disappointment in the form of boos. There's nothing wrong with that."

The Tigers went into the final weekend with a two-game lead over Minnesota, but got off to a bad start when Scott Podsednik hit a leadoff home run.

Detroit lost for the fourth time in six games, while the Twins beat Kansas City 10-7, cutting the Tigers' lead to one.

Peavy (3-0) pitched eight scoreless innings and Carlos Quentin also homered. Out for three months because of an injured right ankle, Peavy gave up just two hits and showed the form he had as the 2007 NL Cy Young winner.

Edwin Jackson (13-9) gave up a career-high eight runs and seven hits over five-plus innings.

"The one thing you have to have when you pitch against a guy like Peavy, your pitcher has to pitch good," Leyland said.

If the Tigers fail to hold off Minnesota, they will become the first team in major league history to lead a division on May 10 and stay atop it until losing the title in the last week of a season.

Detroit still has an opportunity, though, to win the AL Central without any help from the last-place Royals. With a magic number of two, the Tigers can wrap up the division by beating the White Sox the next two days.

"We're just trying to win these games," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

The Tigers are set to start Alfredo Figaro (2-1) tonight against Freddy Garcia (2-4) and the White Sox.

"I know it's an important game," the 25-year-old Figaro said quietly on the eve of the third start in his career. "I'm not nervous."

If the Tigers need to win tomorrow to clinch the division, they plan to put Justin Verlander (18-9) on the mound against John Danks (13-10).

Podsednik sent Jackson's third pitch into the right-field seats for just his sixth homer of the year and his first to lead off a game since 2004. Detroit had its best hitter, Miguel Cabrera, at the plate in the first with two on and one out and Peavy struck him out and got Aubrey Huff to fly out.

BONDERMAN SUSPENDED: Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski does not agree with Major League Baseball's decision to suspend Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman for intentionally hitting Minnesota's Delmon Young and to only fine Twins pitcher Jose Mijares.

Bonderman was suspended for three games yesterday, while Mijares was fined for intentionally throwing behind the Tigers' Adam Everett.

"I don't think the ruling makes any sense," Dombrowski said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press last night.

"I don't know how the person who starts it doesn't get some sort of penalty too," Dombrowski added. "I've expressed that to people in the commissioner's office."



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