CHICAGO (AP) - Chance Ruffin had a rough major-league debut Monday night.
Carlos Quentin hit a bases-loaded double off the rookie reliever and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 to pull within 3 1/2 games of first in the AL Central.
Chicago scored three runs with two outs in the fifth inning, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead and chasing starter Duane Below (0-1) in the process.
Below, who was pitching just his second game in the majors, was mostly effective through four innings, but left with the bases full and Quentin at the plate.
``Major-league debut, in the middle of a pennant race, bases loaded and Quentin's up,' Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. ``Good luck.'
Ruffin left a 1-1 slider over the plate which Quentin rifled up the left-field line, scoring two runs and putting the White Sox in the lead.
``(Heart was beating) pretty hard,' Ruffin said. ``I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other.
``It was about like I imagined. Bright lights and a lot of fans. Fun atmosphere to be in.'
Ruffin's contract was purchased earlier in the day from Triple-A Toledo and Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasted no time in using last year's first-round pick.
``It was an awful tough spot for him,' Leyland said. ``They hadn't seen him and I was just hoping he could get that guy out.'
The tight situation might never have arose if a borderline 2-2 pitch that froze Chicago's Alexei Ramirez had been called a strike by home plate umpire Jim Wolf. It wasn't, and Ramirez singled home Juan Pierre on the next pitch to tie the game and set the table for Quentin's hit.
``I think (Ramirez) was surprised,' Avila said. ``I think he was probably looking for another pitch. ... Below made a heck of a pitch and it just didn't go our way.'
Leyland concurred with his catcher and in between the fifth and sixth innings, he was ejected by Wolf for arguing the pitch to Ramirez.
``I thought we had Ramirez struck out and the umpire didn't think so,' Leyland said. ``I told him that and he didn't appreciate that. I understand that, no big deal.'
It was Leyland's third ejection this season and the 59th of his long managerial career in the majors.
``I thought the pitch to Ramirez was a pitch that Jim was calling all night, really,' Leyland said. ``Jim's a very good umpire.'
Chicago's rally made a winner of Mark Buehrle (8-5), who allowed 10 hits. Detroit had a runner on in each of his six innings, but the Tigers managed just two unearned runs off the left-hander and stranded nine runners while Buehrle was in the game.
``We had a couple of chances but just couldn't get the big hit,' Leyland said. ``It wasn't like we were knocking the ball around. There was a couple of plays they didn't make to get Buehrle out of innings, so it wasn't like we roughed the ball up too good tonight.'
Below allowed six hits and four runs in 4 2-3 innings.
``I thought he was fine,' Leyland said. ``He found the strike zone pretty good but couldn't do much with his breaking ball. It looked like he was overthrowing it and it just stayed up on him.'
Below said he was more at ease than he was in his first outing.
``I was a lot more comfortable,' Below said. ``I was able to command some things a little bit better. My curveball wasn't as good today. I'm still trying to get my grip and feel like sometimes I rush it. (I'm) still trying to figure everything out.'
Miguel Cabrera connected on his 21st homer for Detroit, a solo shot off reliever Jesse Crain in the seventh. However, Cabrera also dropped a throw at first base when Pierre was caught off the back on a pick-off attempt, contributing to Chicago's three-run fifth.
Chicago's defense struggled in the second, leading to a pair of unearned runs for the Tigers. Magglio Ordonez singled with two outs and made it to third when White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham dropped Cabrera's popup into shallow center for an error.
Victor Martinez added an RBI single before Jhonny Peralta hit another shallow pop to left center that fell in front of Chicago center fielder Alex Rios. Detroit's second run scored on the play.
Notes: Buehrle improved to 18-9 in his career against the Tigers and to 7-1 in his past 11 starts against them. ... After Cabrera's homer in the seventh, Detroit had runners at first and second, but when Crain's low pitch bounced off catcher A.J. Pierzynski, the ball ricocheted to Crain, who threw to second to get Carlos Guillen for the final out.
The Associated Press News Service
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