CHICAGO -- Jim Leyland finally saw his offense start to roll. It just wasn't long enough for the Detroit Tigers, who couldn't put the Chicago White Sox away despite leading twice by three runs and having numerous runners on base.
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had three hits apiece, but Detroit's bullpen couldn't hold the lead and the Tigers lost 7-5 to the White Sox on Monday night.
The Tigers left 13 runners on base and went 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position, dealing them a loss after they jumped out to an early 5-2 lead.
"We did swing the bats better tonight, but we still had opportunities to get home some more runs, which hurt us in the end," the Tigers manager said. "We had the chance to score more, should have scored more runs."
During Detroit's quick start, Andy Dirks walked, Cabrera singled and Fielder hit a two-run double when Chicago center fielder Alejandro De Aza appeared to misjudge his line drive and the ball went over his head. Delmon Young followed with another double over De Aza's head and the Tigers were up 3-0.
But one out after a single by De Aza in the bottom half of the first, Adam Dunn lifted a homer to deep right, surpassing his disappointing 2011 total in Chicago's 36th game.
White Sox starter John Danks gave it right back in the third, surrendering three singles and then walking Jhonny Peralta with the bases loaded to make it 4-2 before Gerald Laird's sacrifice fly put the Tigers back up by three.
Leading 5-4, Leyland decided to pull starter Drew Smyly after just five innings and 65 pitches.
"I just didn't like the way they were getting the ball up in the air off (Smyly)," Leyland said. "I didn't think he was quite as sharp."
The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against reliever Luke Putkonen (0-2). Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski singled before a walk to Alexei Ramirez. Dayan Viciedo followed with a two-run single to center to put the White Sox ahead. Brent Morel, who came in batting .182 and appeared ready to bunt two pitches earlier, then lined an RBI single to left for a 7-5 lead.
"I just felt like Putkonen, they'd never seen him, maybe he could come in and hold them for a couple innings," Leyland explained.
Smyly allowed four runs on five hits in five innings, the damage being done on a pair of two-run homers.
"My arm felt good, I don't think my power was there," the 22-year-old left-hander said. "Just one of those days where I couldn't get everything behind it."
"Besides that, I was throwing strikes, hitting my spots for the most part. Smooth game except for those two home runs."
Viciedo homered in the fifth inning to cut the Tigers' lead to 5-4 and finished with a career-high four RBI.
Dunn hit his 12th home run of the season in the first inning for Chicago, surpassing his total from all of last season.
Danks got off to a rough start for the White Sox, giving up three runs in the first. Danks surrendered five runs on nine hits in three innings of work – his shortest outing of the season.
Zach Stewart (1-1) earned the win, allowing only one hit over three scoreless innings.
Chicago reliever Hector Santiago relieved Stewart in the seventh and retired three straight with two runners on. Matt Thornton pitched the eighth and Addison Reed gave up a single and walk in the ninth before getting his third save in as many chances. White Sox relievers allowed three hits in six shutout innings.
Viciedo, in a 1-for-17 slump, connected on his fourth homer in the fifth, a two-run blast that made it 5-4.
Viciedo, the No. 8 hitter for Chicago, and the two batters on either side of him in the lineup, Alexei Ramirez and Morel, all entered the game hitting under .200 – and all three delivered.
"I don't feel there is any pressure. Collectively we help each other out. We're a young squad and we'll have our ups and downs," Viciedo said.
"We're confident and we pick each other up."
Notes: Leyland came out to argue with third base umpire Gerry Davis in the second after a shot down the third base line by Cabrera was ruled foul. Replays showed the ball may have been fair and would have scored at least one run since Austin Jackson had doubled earlier in the inning past third before Andy Dirks was hit with a pitch. ... Dunn's homer was his first off a lefty since Aug. 6, 2010, when he hit a pair off the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw while he was with the Nationals. Dunn batted .064 (6 for 94) against lefties last season with just one extra base hit, a double. ... Detroit's Max Scherzer (2-3, 5.73 ERA) pitches against Jake Peavy (4-1, 1.89 ) in the finale of the brief two-game series. It will be the finale of a nine-game road swing for the Tigers, who are 3-5 on the trip.