Amid an uneven season for the Chicago White Sox, Sergio Santos has been consistently good.
Even Santos couldn't hold off the Detroit Tigers, who dealt the White Sox perhaps their most devastating loss of the year.
Miguel Cabrera hit a game-ending solo homer in the ninth inning, capping a stirring Detroit rally and lifting the Tigers to a 9-8 win Saturday. Detroit trailed 8-1 in the fifth and 8-6 in the ninth, but Ryan Raburn tied it with a two-run shot off Santos, and Cabrera won it one out later with his 25th homer of the year.
Detroit leads third-place Chicago by 7½ games in the AL Central.
"Not what you want to do when you're trying to catch a good team that's hot, obviously," Santos said. "The one to Raburn, I was trying to get, obviously, in the dirt, and get him swinging. It just stayed up and in, and he hit that out. Miggy, I wanted to get a first-pitch slider over, and he hit it out."
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.
"I think every loss hurts when you play this game or when you compete," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But this one is very painful. This game was huge for us. It was a very important game."
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. After Young struck out, Cabrera ended it with his 420-foot shot to left.
"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."
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 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.
Cabrera reached base for the 30th consecutive game.