The White Sox led twice before dropping out of first in the AL Central for the first time since July 23. How will they respond with the streaking Rays coming to town?
For three innings, things looked good for the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately, fate took the two combatants in the American League Central Division race in different directions.
The Tigers responded by tying the game in the bottom of that inning and prevailing 5-4. The White Sox responded by allowing the Indians to tie the game in the top of the fourth.
Despite reclaiming the lead an inning later, Chicago's pitching staff couldn't make it stand up. They handed out 12 walks to the Indians as the White Sox went down to a 6-4 defeat. For the first time in over two months, Chicago finds itself looking up at the Tigers in the division standings.
The offense staked starter Hector Santiago an early advantage. The rookie lefty couldn't get the ball over the plate, walking four batters and loading the bases before being removed in the fourth. Fellow rookies Brian Omogrosso, Donnie Veal and Nate Jones also had control problems on this night.
As a result of the loss, the White Sox trail Detroit by a game with just seven left to play. Chicago's resilience has been tested all season long. This team hasn't been more than a game and a half out of first since May 26. Twice already in 2012, they have quickly battled back after giving up the lead to the Tigers.
They will have to do that one more time in order to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. Detroit wraps up at home with the Royals before going to Minnesota this weekend. Chicago begins a four game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays have won seven straight and still have the slim chance of a wild card berth to fight for. The White Sox have their hands full tonight with James Shields pitching for Tampa Bay.
Chicago also has much to play for. However, they have lost their place in the driver's seat.