DETROIT (AP) – Curtis Granderson’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Monday night.

Chicago’s lead in the AL Central dropped to two games over idle Cleveland and its magic number remained at five to clinch the division. The White Sox had a 15-game lead on Aug. 1, and if they fail to finish in first it would be one of the biggest collapses in baseball history.

Brandon Inge hit two homers for the Tigers, who have won three straight after an eight-game losing streak.

Cliff Politte (6-1) gave up the homer and Fernando Rodney (2-3) pitched the ninth for the win.

In the eighth, the White Sox blew a chance to break a 3-all tie with runners on second and third and one out. A.J. Pierzynski struck out against Jamie Walker and Chris Spurling got the Tigers out of the jam by striking out Jermaine Dye.

Both starters gave up three runs on two-run homers and solo shots.

Chicago’s Jon Garland allowed eight hits and three walks while striking out seven over 6 2-3 innings. Detroit’s Jason Johnson gave up six hits in seven innings.

Paul Konerko’s two-run homer in the first gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead.

After stranding two runners in consecutive innings, Inge’s two-run homer in the fourth tied it at 2.

Chicago went back ahead in the fifth on Joe Crede’s solo homer, his career-high 22nd.

Inge’s second home run tied it at 3 in the sixth.

Notes: Garland is 1-5 in his last nine starts. He was 3-0 with two shutouts against the Tigers this season and had held them scoreless for 26 innings until Inge his first homer off him in the fourth. … Inge hit two homers for the second time in his career, the first since May 7, 2003, at Baltimore. … Konerko has homered in back-to-back games after going from Sept. 9-24 without a homer. … Detroit SS Carlos Guillen (knee) started for the time since Aug. 10. … Detroit RHP Roman Colon (shoulder) likely will not pitch in the final week of the season, and DH/OF Dmitri Young (hamstring) is not expected be able to start a game. … With attention turned toward football as usual in September in Detroit, the game drew just 10,840 fans.

AP-ES-09-26-05 2204EDT

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