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Tigers rally from 6-0 in ninth to beat White Sox

10:42 PM, Sep 21, 2013   |    comments
Andy Dirks #12 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the ninth inning scoring Prince Fielder #28 and Victor Martinez #41 during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on September 21, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Down six runs in their last at-bats, the Tigers looked poised to take their American League Central-clinching party on the road.

But six runs and their biggest ninth-inning comeback since 1947 later, they'll have the chance to wrap up the division at home on Sunday.

Detroit scored six runs in the ninth and topped the White Sox, 7-6, in 12 innings on Omar Infante's infield single Saturday night at Comerica Park.

The win puts the Tigers' magic number at two.

In order to clinch the division tomorrow, they'll need to beat the last-place White Sox and have the last-place Houston Astros beat the Cleveland Indians.

But even the chance to win in front of the home fans - the three millionth of which passed through the stadium's turnstiles on Saturday night - seemed distant as Chicago lefty Chris Sale mowed up and down the Tigers' lineup.

Sale pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out seven and walking one.

But he was pulled at 97 pitches in the eighth, Torii Hunter led off the ninth against reliever Nate Jones with a triple, then Miguel Cabrera singled, Prince Fielder singled, Victor Martinez doubled and Andy Dirks stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter.

The score was 6-1.

Cabrera's third hit of the game avoided the team's 12th shutout of the year. He left the game with groin soreness in the 10th inning, according to Fox Sports Detroit.

The party was far from over, however, as Dirks lifted a three-run shot into the right-field seats to pull the Tigers within a run.

Jones was pulled, closer Addison Reed came in and walked three batters. Hunter tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right for the first six-run comeback in the final frame since 1947 against the Washington Senators, according to Fox Sports Detroit.

Tigers' righty Rick Porcello nearly matched Sale pitch-for-pitch, but wilted in the seventh inning, when he allowed a pair of run-scoring hits.

Avisail Garcia singled with one out, followed by a Jeff Keppinger double to break the scoreless tie. Then, in an 0-2 count against Gordon Beckham, Porcello hung a slider over the plate and he dumped it into right field.

Porcello pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out nine batters, his third-most this season.

Cabrera had two of the Tigers' four hits against Sale, who retired 12 straight between the fourth and eighth innings, a streak snapped by Omar Infante in the eighth inning.

Ramon Santiago then singled, Brayan Pena struck out and White Sox manager Robin Ventura gave Sale the hook.

In the 12th, Don Kelly drew a leadoff walk. Fielder grounded out, Martinez was intentionally walked, then Dirks was walked to load the bases.

Infante then grounded slowly to the right side, so slowly that a play could not be made. Kelly scored.

They close out the home portion of their schedule on Sunday afternoon, when Anibal Sanchez takes the hill against White Sox rookie righty Erik Johnson.

Contact Anthony Fenech: afenech@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.

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