Bullpen issues overshadowed a much-needed win for the Tigers.
Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames homered and Detroit beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs and Ivan Rodriguez went 4-for-4 for third-place Detroit, which pulled within 6 1/2 games of the AL Central-leading White Sox. Minnesota beat Cleveland 4-2 to trim Chicago's lead to 2 1/2 games.
But the biggest news came from the bullpen. During the pregame show, manager Jim Leyland said that Fernando Rodney would replace Todd Jones as the team's closer. Then, oft-injured set-up man Joel Zumaya left the game in the eighth inning with tightness in his right triceps. He was replaced by Rodney, who got five outs to end the game but threw 42 pitches, putting his availability for Monday night's game against Cleveland in doubt.
"We can't be going to war right now with pitchers that can't pitch for three or four days," Leyland said.
Jermaine Dye homered for the third straight day and A.J. Pierzynski also went deep for the White Sox, who had won four straight.
"We try to win series and that is just what we did. I take two-of-three all season long," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We came here to fight and made it interesting. We just didn't give in and had a chance to win it."
Zach Miner (5-3) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings to earn his first win against Chicago after losing five decisions.
Zumaya replaced Miner and pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run and a walk, before leaving with his injury. Zumaya, who was listed as day to day, returned last month after offseason shoulder surgery. He also underwent surgery last season for a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger.
"I'm very frustrated now, very frustrated," Zumaya said. "I've been through a lot and being set back ticks me off."
Rodney was charged with one run, one hit and walked two batters. He struck out the side in the ninth, but went to a full count on all three hitters.
Rodney, who has one career save, said Leyland told him of the change during Saturday's game. He also said it was a little different pitching the ninth.
When asked if he would be able to pitch, if necessary, on Monday, he said: "I don't know ... probably no."
The 40-year-old Jones was 18-for-21 in save situations this year, but had a 4.99 ERA. He allowed Dye's two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning on Friday, which gave Chicago a 6-5 win. Opponents are hitting .293 against him this year.
"Right now the quality of the pitches and the location wasn't good enough," said Leyland. "But the one thing he does is throw strikes."
Jones is the Tigers' all-time saves leader with 235.
"I am 40, so you knew this day had to come some time," he said. "I don't like it but I accept it because I respect the man that told me."
He said it is still his job to pitch whenever Leyland tells him to.
Javier Vazquez (7-9) surrendered six runs and 11 hits in seven innings for Chicago.
Detroit scored three runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Granderson led off with his 11th homer, and Cabrera added a two-run single.
Dye connected in the fourth for his 24th homer of the season, cutting it to 4-2.
Thames led off the sixth with his 20th of the year and Edgar Renteria doubled in Rodriguez to give Detroit a 6-2 lead.
Jim Thome also had a two-run single for the White Sox.
"Still very much in contention," said Granderson. There's what? 58 games left? Anything can happen. Especially considering it's not even August yet.
Meanwhile, Chicago heads to Minnesota for a four-game series beginning on Monday.
"It was a good series," said Nick Swisher. "And now we have to carry that on against Minnesota."