CHICAGO (AP) - With the bases loaded and the bullpen already warming in the first inning, Andrew Oliver knew he had to make a pitch.
He delivered a 95-mph fastball to Alex Rios, snagged a comebacker and threw to first.
It wasn't until the run scored that he realized it was only the second out.
Mental mistakes and lack of command spelled disaster for the Detroit on Friday night as the Chicago White Sox beat the Tigers 6-4 in their series opener.
``I still need to focus on stuff like that and be aware of that,' Oliver acknowledged.
Carlos Quentin hit a three-run homer and Brent Lillibridge added a solo shot to snap the Tigers' four-game win streak, but it was the 23-year-old Oliver's inconsistent fastball that doomed him.
``It was just a struggle from the first batter,' he said. ``It's just getting ahead of guys. You'll be a lot more effective that way. Tonight I didn't do that.'
Oliver walked five and hit a batter in 3 2-3 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits and struck out two in his second start of the season.
``Right now he's in the 'outstanding prospect' stage,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``You can see he's not quite ready yet, but that's OK. He got his feet wet a little bit more and he's got a chance to be an outstanding big league pitcher.'
With Phil Coke hopeful to rejoin the starting rotation on Wednesday, it may have been the southpaw's last chance to impress his manager.
``We weren't looking for somebody to come up here and be lights out,' Leyland said. ``He was the right choice, and a good choice. He's probably not quite ready for this yet.'
The White Sox ended a nine-game losing steak against the Tigers and have won four straight games for the first time this season. Chicago, which trailed the Cleveland Indians by 11 games in the AL Central on May 7, are now within seven games.
White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (5-4) pitched six effective innings. He allowed three runs while giving up 10 hits, striking out four with just one walk.
Leyland felt the Tigers were just a hit away the whole time.
``We punched him a little bit and couldn't knock him out,' the Detroit skipper said. ``When we had a chance to get one more big hit, we didn't get it.'
With one out in the eighth, White Sox reliever Matt Thornton gave up three consecutive singles. He was helped by left fielder Juan Pierre, who made a running catch into the left-field fence to take away an extra base hit from Alex Avila. Victor Martinez tagged from third to cut the Chicago lead to 5-4.
After the spectacular catch, Pierre hit a leadoff homer in the eighth to put Chicago up 6-4. It was his first home run since Aug. 3, 2010, against Detroit.
White Sox closer Sergio Santos struck out Ramon Santiago with runners on first and second in the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save in 11 opportunities. He got Miguel Cabrera swinging to end the game.
Casper Wells hit a three-run homer for Detroit, which was trying to win 10 straight games against the White Sox for the first time since 1923.
Leading 1-0 in the fourth, the White Sox finally knocked out Oliver, who was flirting with trouble his entire start.
Oliver allowed his fifth walk of the game when Pierre reached with two outs, then Alexei Ramirez followed with a single. Quentin gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead with his 14th homer of the season into the left-field bullpen. A.J. Pierzynski quickly ended Oliver's night with a double.
Lillibridge tagged Tigers reliever Charlie Furbush with a solo shot leading off the fifth to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead. Lillibridge, who came into the season with three career home runs, now has seven on the season. He has homered four times in his last 13 games.
Danny Worth and Austin Jackson had back-to-back singles against Buehrle in the fifth, and Detroit got on the board after Wells drove Buehrle's pitch into the left-center bleachers for a three-run shot. It was Wells' second of season.
The White Sox had runners on second and third with no outs in the third and couldn't score. Alex Rios popped out to shallow left field, Lillibridge struck out and Adam Dunn grounded out to first base to a loud chorus of boos.
After Lillibridge's home run in the fifth, the White Sox failed to score with bases loaded a no outs. Pierre's grounder forced Dunn out at the plate and Ramirez hit into a double play.
NOTES: The White Sox are done waiting for Dunn to break out of his season-long slump. ``Well, we're not waiting for him. You can't wait for anyone to break out,' said general manager Ken Williams. Dunn ended an 0-for-40 skid against left-handers with an infield single against Furbush in the fifth. ... Dunn was in the lineup because Paul Konerko was late scratched after having a minor medical procedure to dislodge a loose fragment in his left wrist. The White Sox don't expect Konerko to miss anymore time. ... Tigers 3B Brandon Inge went on the DL with mononucleosis. ... The White Sox were 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
The Associated Press News Service
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