DETROIT — Their goal of winning the AL Central all but gone, the Detroit Tigers are embracing their role as spoilers.
Johnny Damon had a season-high four hits, scored two runs and drove in one, helping Detroit beat Chicago 6-3 Thursday and hand the White Sox their third straight loss.
The Tigers have won six of eight to get back above .500 for the first time since July 31.
“We came into the season with bigger hopes, thinking we could win the World Series,” Damon said. “Good teams can rebound from tough times and we weren't able to do that until now. Unfortunately, we dug a pretty big hole. But we can still control the race to some extent with games coming against Chicago and Minnesota.”
The White Sox fell six games behind idle Minnesota, their largest deficit in the division since June 17.
“It gets harder every day,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.
After hosting Kansas City this weekend, the White Sox will start a three-game series Tuesday at home against Minnesota.
“We have to go home and turn this around,” Guillen said. “One thing I know — this team will not quit. They will keep fighting until the end.”
Guillen traces his team's troubles to its AL Central record, going 28-32 in the division while Minnesota has dominated its familiar foes with a 38-19 mark.
“That's why we are where we are right now,” Guillen said.
Ryan Raburn and Jhonny Peralta each had two RBIs as the Tigers won for the ninth time in 10 games at Comerica Park, where they are 46-26.
The Tigers trail the Twins by 12 games — putting them slightly closer to first than last place — in large part because they're 19 games under .500 on the road.
“We don't have a chance, but we have to play hard no matter what,” Peralta said.
Rick Porcello (9-11) gave up three runs on four hits and no walks in eight innings to win his fourth straight start. Ryan Perry pitched the ninth for his second save.
Gavin Floyd (10-12) allowed six runs — five earned — over six innings. He gave up career-high matching 13 hits, all of which were singles. He became the first pitcher to do that since James Baldwin on Aug. 29, 2001, pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies, according to STATS LLC.
“You are trying to get ground balls, and everything they hit finds a hole,” Floyd said.
Chicago's Alex Rios hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
The Tigers didn't hit one over the fence, or even in a gap, but methodically scored runs throughout the game. They also got solid pitching and played sound defense.
“We're giving a good effort,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I'm pleased with them. Some nights, we're just not good enough.”
Notes: The Tigers were without slugger Miguel Cabrera (left shoulder, biceps) for a second game in a row. ... Chicago activated reliever J.J. Putz from the disabled list before the game. ... Tigers RHP Armando Galarraga says it will be “no big deal” to pitch for the first time since his near-perfect game with umpire Jim Joyce on the field Friday night against Baltimore. ... Leyland said he's considering moving LHP Phil Coke from a reliever to a starter next season. ... Detroit OF Austin Jackson struck out a season-high four times, but walked and scored his 92nd run — the most by a Tigers rookie since Jake Wood had four more in 1961. ... The White Sox had an error, giving them 18 in the last 15 games. ... Detroit's rookies have combined for 443 hits, the most by the team since 1954.