Despite facing a virtually insurmountable deficit in the AL Central race, the Chicago White Sox remain determined.
The White Sox will try to keep their faint hopes alive with a win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night and by getting some help from another division rival.
Chicago (83-76) is three games behind Detroit in the division with three left after suffering another defeat Sunday, 6-2 to Tampa Bay. The Tigers, meanwhile, won 2-1 in Minnesota and can clinch the division with a win over Kansas City on Monday or a White Sox loss in Cleveland.
"Obviously we're up against it now, but we'll continue to play," Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. "That's what we do and what we've done all year. It doesn't look good obviously. ... You never know what can happen. The main thing is to get us in order and go win a ball game tomorrow."
The White Sox are 2-10 in their last 12 and dropped two of three at home to Cleveland last week. Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.69 ERA) started Wednesday's series finale but lasted only 3 1-3 innings in a 6-4 loss.
"I'm getting experience in the big leagues as a starter and trying to build myself up and learn how to pitch and get early outs," Santiago told the team's website. "That's what we are building up for now to possibly be in next year."
It was the third start of the left-hander's career and his first against the Indians (67-92), who are coming off a 15-3 rout of Kansas City. Asdrubal Cabrera had a grand slam among his three hits Sunday, and Cleveland went 9 for 20 with runners in scoring position after leaving 20 on base in a 7-6 loss in 14 innings Saturday.
"That's baseball," interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. "We took what they gave us and kept the line moving, tried not to do too much."
The Indians have won five of seven since a 12-41 stretch, which cost manager Manny Acta his job. Alomar took over before Friday's 8-5 victory over Kansas City.
Corey Kluber (2-4, 5.02) will try to lead his team to another win by beating the White Sox for the second time in as many matchups. The right-hander gave up two solo homers and two singles in a 4-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.
Kluber, though, will likely need a better effort to earn another win at Progressive Field. He's 0-3 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts there this season.
Kluber will try to get some help from Cabrera, who is batting .340 with 12 RBIs over his last 12 games. The Indians shortstop is hitting .375 (12 for 32) in his last 10 matchups with the White Sox.
Jason Kipnis is batting .327 with three homers and 13 RBIs over his past 13 games against Chicago but is 1 for 25 (.040) in six home matchups.
Alejandro De Aza, meanwhile, is hitting .377 in 30 career games against Cleveland and A.J. Pierzynski is batting .320 with five homers and 15 RBIs versus the Indians in 2012. Adam Dunn has a team-best six home runs during the season series.
|Alejandro De Aza||0||.000||0||0||0||1||0||1.000||1.000||.000|
|Chicago White Sox|
|September 07, 2012||Adam Dunn||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|August 27, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|August 27, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|August 25, 2012||Dayan Viciedo||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder soreness|
|August 19, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 18, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||15-Day DL||Bruised left ribcage|
|September 27, 2012||Ubaldo Jimenez||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|September 26, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained back|
|September 19, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|September 15, 2012||Jason Donald||Day-to-Day||Right forearm contusion|
|September 13, 2012||Michael Brantley||Day-to-Day||Sore left pectoral muscle|
|September 09, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Their collapse complete, all the White Sox could do was watch from afar as another team celebrated winning the AL Central.
This wasn't their year, but it wasn't supposed to be.
Chicago's comeback season came up short.
"It hurts," said designated hitter Adam Dunn . "It stinks, but we have to look in the mirror and realize we did it to ourselves."
Rookie Hector Santiago allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings to keep Chicago's slim hopes alive for a while as the White Sox beat Cleveland 11-0 before they were eliminated from playoff contention when Detroit won the division on Monday night.
Santiago (4-1), who began the season as Chicago's closer, struck out a season-high 10 and allowed only Shin-Soo Choo's two-out single in the third.
With just their third win in 13 games, the second-place White Sox left the field with some hope, but not much. About an hour after the game, Chicago, which stumbled down the stretch after being in first place for 63 straight days, saw its chances vanish as the Tigers won 6-3 in Kansas City.
"It's always frustrating, but I told everyone we should walk out of here with our heads held high," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Nobody thought we would so anything this year, but to be in it until October 1st and have a chance, we did everything we could. We don't have to look back and say we could have done this or we could have done that because at the end of the day, we gave everything we could and did everything we could possibly do.
"We were in the position we wanted to be in and it just didn't work out."
The White Sox scored four runs in the sixth off Corey Kluber (2-5), and added six in the ninth - four on Dayan Viciedo 's first career grand slam to make it 11-0.
After lining up and slapping high-fives in the infield, the White Sox headed to their clubhouse aware that the Tigers were already leading the Royals by four runs.
There was nothing more Chicago could do. It was out of the White Sox's hands, and they ate their postgame dinners and watched helplessly on TVs in the clubhouse - several were tuned to the Chicago Bears' Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys - as the Tigers wrapped up a second straight title.
A season of promise under first-year manager Robin Ventura had crumbled completely.
"You end up where you're supposed to end up," Ventura said. "The effort was there. We just came up short."
Santiago and Kluber were locked in a scoreless duel until the sixth, when the White Sox scored four runs on five hits - four coming with two outs.
Dewayne Wise bunted safely with one out, and stole second with two outs before Adam Dunn snapped an 0-for-18 slump by lining a base hit to center. Kluber then walked Paul Konerko before Alex Rios ripped an RBI double off the left-field wall, scoring Dunn to make it 2-0 and forcing a pitching change.
Pierzynski followed with a grounder up the middle off reliever Joe Smith that went off diving second baseman Jason Kipnis ' glove and into center field as Konerko scored. Viciedo's single then scored Rios to give the White Sox a 4-0 lead and chance to breathe a little easier.
Santiago was never threatened by the Indians, who managed just three baserunners off the left-hander. Cleveland did not get a runner to second base off Santiago, who won for the first time in five starts.
Dunn added an RBI single in the ninth to make it 6-0.
The White Sox didn't seem to be feeling any pressure before the game. Players sat in front of their lockers, tapping away at the screens of their iPads or watching TV as if it was June 1 and not Oct. 1 with their season hanging by a thread.
Chicago's players, who had spent 117 total days in first place, seemed resigned to their fate.
"If it does become official, it's a huge disappointment," said starter Jake Peavy , who is scheduled to start Tuesday's game. "We feel like we let one slip away. It's extremely frustrating the way things have played out."
It was a monumental collapse for the White Sox, who led the division by three games on Sept. 17. Since then, they're 4-10 and now have to hope the Royals can somehow sweep three straight from the Tigers.
As for the Indians, they dropped to 2-2 under interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr., who hopes to become Cleveland's permanent manager.
"It'd be great. It'd be awesome," Alomar said before the game. "I played here many years. I'm very proud of this organization. They have treated me great. They brought me back. If it's the time, it's their choice. If it's the time, it's time. if not, there will be some other time."
Alomar took over last week when the Indians fired Manny Acta with six games left. Alomar, who served Acta's bench coach this season, will likely interview with the Indians by the end of the week. He and former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona are the only candidates confirmed so far by the club, which has tentatively set up a meeting with Francona on Friday.
NOTES: Pierzynski has 77 RBIs, matching a career-high. ... With his performance, Santiago helped Chicago's set a club record for strikeouts in a season. The White Sox have fanned 1,225 batters, five more than in 2011. ... Dunn has 220 strikeouts, three away from the major league record set by Mark Reynolds with Arizona in 2009. ... Santiago's 10 strikeouts were the most by a Chicago rookie since Jason Bere , who struck out 12 Angels on Sept. 20, 19093.