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Archive for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ramirez slam lifts Chisox into playoff

September 30, 2008

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— Alexei Ramirez spread his arms wide, raced around the bases like a little kid and jumped into Paul Konerko's embrace at home plate.

No wonder they were so happy. The White Sox would play one more day.

Ramirez set a rookie record with his fourth grand slam of the season, and Chicago beat Detroit, 8-2, in a rainout makeup Monday, forcing a one-game tiebreaker against Minnesota for the AL Central title.

The Twins will visit the White Sox tonight, with John Danks starting for Chicago on three days' rest against Nick Blackburn. The division champ begins the playoffs at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"Tomorrow, 162 games mean nothing. It's only about one game, and that's great," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "A good feeling."

When Guillen told Ramirez to relax before batting with the bases loaded, the 27-year-old infielder made a promise.

"I told Ozzie to have confidence in me. I'm going to go out and get these runners home somehow," he said.

Did he ever. Then again, his days on the Cuban national team taught him about big games.

"My team in Cuba was always in the playoffs, and I played in the Olympics and international games. I've been in tougher situations, I feel," he said through a translator.

Washed out earlier this month, Chicago and Detroit waited through a rain delay of more than three hours before starting. Gavin Floyd (17-8) won on three days' rest - short rest has been successful trend for many teams in the stretch.

The loss left the Tigers in last place, capping a season they began with hopes of reaching the World Series.

"It's been a tough year," manager Jim Leyland said. "Today pretty much sums up what's gone on all year, really. It hasn't been a very good year, and it wasn't a very happy ending."

Detroit, with nothing really to play for, took a 2-1 lead into the sixth.

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