DETROIT -- Jim Thome struggled to lift his left hamstring onto a shelf to put his sock on.
The Chicago White Sox are hopeful Thome's injury will not prevent him from helping carry them to the playoffs so they can defend their World Series title.
Thome limped off the field in the second inning of a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers last night, and manager Ozzie Guillen expects the designated hitter to miss only the series finale in the Motor City.
``The good news is it's not a big deal," Guillen said.
Thome isn't so sure.
``I don't think it's a cramp because a cramp usually goes away," he said. ``There's probably a strain in there.
``I've never had a hamstring injury. We'll think the best, reevaluate it and do our best to get back as quick as possible."
The White Sox lost the first two matchups in the four-game series with the AL Central-leading Tigers, but bounced back with Joe Crede's two home runs and Jermaine Dye's three-run homer.
``It was definitely big for us, especially at this time off the year and chasing the Tigers," Crede said. ``It's good that we gained a game on them.
``We have a lot of games left. It will be fun to see what happens."
Chicago, which had lost six of eight, trails the Tigers by 6 1/2 games in the division and has a half-game lead over Minnesota in the wild-card race. The Twins travel to play the White Sox this weekend.
Guillen said regardless of how the series in Detroit ends, if the White Sox win 95 games they will make the playoffs.
The White Sox added Thome last winter and after watching him hit .294 with 36 homers and 91 RBIs, they don't want to lose him for any length of time with less than six weeks left in the season.
Thome pulled up after rounding first base on an RBI ground-rule double and favored his left leg.
``He's going to be day by day," said Guillen, adding he will not count on Thome to play today.
Dmitri Young hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who failed to rally for a late-inning win like they often have this season.
The White Sox went ahead, 6-3, with three runs in the second and maintained their three-run lead until the sixth.
Sean Casey, the first to face reliever Matt Thornton, hit a two-run double to pull Detroit within a run. Crede bumped the lead back to two runs in the seventh with his second homer.
Freddy Garcia (12-8) allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.
``We had some good opportunities and didn't capitalize," Casey said.
Thornton and Mike MacDougal combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before Bobby Jenks worked the ninth for his 36th save in 38 opportunities.
Rookie Zach Miner (7-5) gave up six runs, four hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings, his shortest outing and third straight loss.