Instead, the team that has been atop the American League Central for 116 days and every day since July 24 slipped into a first-place deadlock with Detroit (82-72) with just eight games remaining. That tie arrived after Anibal Sanchez threw a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Royals Tuesday night.
In a sign that the White Sox might be preparing for a division race that goes down to the last day of the season or to a Game 163, the team moved Chris Sale's start from Sunday to Saturday after the loss. That decision came down after announcing before Tuesday's game that Sale would pitch on Sunday, following his 118-pitch no-decision Monday.
The White Sox have to play better baseball and win games on their own to reach the playoffs.
"Today obviously was not a step in the right direction," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "It was a tough game. We showed some heart to battle back. At this point of the season, you need the victories.
"Right now, we're right on that cusp of getting a bunch of runs. There are a lot of guys having good at-bats up there. It just didn't result in that sustained offenses yet. But we just got to keep grinding because with that many games to go, that cycle can turn."Wednesday's key games to watch (all times CT)
Indians (Masterson, 11-15) at White Sox (Santiago, 3-1), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Royals (Guthrie, 7-12) at Tigers (Porcello, 9-12), 6:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1