DETROIT (AP) - By the time Miguel Cabrera came to the plate in the ninth inning, the Detroit Tigers had already erased a seven-run deficit.
Cabrera needed only one swing to cap one of baseball's best comebacks of the season.
The big first baseman hit a game-ending solo homer Saturday, lifting the Tigers to a 9-8 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Detroit trailed 8-1 in the fifth inning and 8-6 in the ninth, but Ryan Raburn tied it with a two-run shot off Sergio Santos. Cabrera won it one out later with his 25th homer of the year.
Detroit extended its lead to 7 1/2 games over third-place Chicago in the AL Central. Second-place Cleveland trails by 6 1/2.
``That was an unbelievable inning,' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ``I'm not sure I've ever been part of a game exactly like that one, with a two-run homer to tie it, and then boom, another one to win it.'
It was only the fifth time this season a team rallied from a deficit of at least seven runs to win, according to STATS LLC.
``I think every loss hurts when you play this game or when you compete,' Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``But this one is very painful. This game was huge for us. It was a very important game.'
Santos (3-4) hadn't allowed a run in his previous 30 road appearances, dating to last season.
Luis Marte (1-0) earned his first big league win with a perfect top of the ninth.
The game was delayed 36 minutes in the eighth by rain.
Alexei Ramirez's three-run homer highlighted a five-run fourth for the White Sox, and Alejandro De Aza and Brent Morel added back-to-back solo homers in the fifth off Brad Penny.
The Tigers began their comeback with three runs in the fifth on an RBI triple by Austin Jackson and a two-run homer by Delmon Young. Wilson Betemit's solo shot in the seventh made it 8-5.
By the eighth, the weather looked increasingly threatening, with wind blowing debris around and lightning visible in the distance. The teams played through that, thunder and eventually some hard rain before finally leaving the field with one out in the bottom of the inning, moments after fans had been told to retreat to the concourse.
Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI single soon after the game resumed, but Chicago still carried a two-run lead into the ninth.
With one out, Jackson came up with another triple for his fourth hit of the game. Raburn followed with a 424-foot homer down the left-field line.
``He left a slider up, and I was just trying to make sure I got the run in from third,' Raburn said. ``I hit it good, but hitting one like that was the last thing on my mind, especially against that guy.'
After Young struck out, Cabrera ended it with his 420-foot shot to left.
``I was just looking for a good pitch to hit, and I got the bat on his slider,' Cabrera said. ``The White Sox are one of the teams behind us, so this is big, but it is one game.'
Penny allowed eight runs - four earned - and 10 hits in five innings.
Chicago's Gavin Floyd allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out four.
Chicago's big inning was aided by a couple defensive mishaps by Detroit. Second baseman Carlos Guillen made an error on a grounder, enabling the White Sox to load the bases with one out. Gordon Beckham followed with a tiebreaking RBI single to make it 2-1. Juan Pierre then hit a grounder to first, and Cabrera threw home for the force. Catcher Alex Avila threw back to first, trying for an inning-ending double play, but the ball appeared to hit Pierre and bounced away, allowing another run to score.
Avila was charged with an error, and Leyland came out to argue, apparently contending that Pierre was out of the baseline. The play stood, and Ramirez followed with his 14th homer of the year to make it 6-1.
A.J. Pierzynski opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, and Cabrera tied it with an RBI double in the bottom half. Cabrera's hit was reviewed by the umpires, but it appeared to have hit the top of the wall in right-center field.
There was no doubt about Cabrera's shot in the ninth.
``We have to come back and try to win another one tomorrow - but this is a hell of a win,' Leyland said. ``That's exciting. I just wish more of our fans could have stayed to see the whole thing.'
NOTES: Cabrera reached base for the 30th consecutive game. ... Avila struck out three times and failed to reach base for the first time in 29 games. ... The temperature at game time was 95 degrees. ... Ozzie Guillen said it was uplifting to hear that reliever Shane Lindsay's mother had been able to travel from Australia on short notice to see her son's major league debut in Friday night's 8-1 loss. ``I don't get too sensitive about too much stuff, and that one made me forget how bad we played,' Guillen said. ``There's nothing better than when your kids have success. That's one of the biggest thrills you can have as a parent.' ... The White Sox send Mark Buehrle to the mound against Max Scherzer in the series finale Sunday night. ... Both teams will have to travel for Monday day games after that. The Tigers play at Cleveland and the White Sox have a day-night doubleheader at Minnesota.
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