CHICAGO -- Jim Leyland's 3,000th Major League game lasted long enough to feel like his 3,001st as well.
Brandon Inge's 1,092nd career strikeout started the game-winning rally instead of ending the top of the 11th inning.
Gerald Laird's go-ahead RBI hit in the seventh inning was merely a warmup act for him to do it again in the 11th.
Three different Tigers relievers had their chances at their first Major League save in relief of fill-in closer Phil Coke, until lefty specialist-in-training Daniel Schlereth struck out Manny Ramirez, one of the game's great right-handed hitters, to finish the 9-7 win over the White Sox on Sunday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
It was that kind of night. And Leyland had to pause to think about how to describe it.
"That was ... wild," he said as he searched for the lineup card to save.
Laird did not have the same hesitation.
"It was an all-around fun game to be a part of," Laird said. "I'm just glad it's over."
After 4 hours, 13 minutes, and seven different Tigers pitchers, it ended up sealing Detroit's first sweep of the White Sox in the Windy City since 2001. Twenty of the Tigers' 24 runs in the series were scored in the seventh inning or later, including a pair of six-run seventh innings.
The first of them on Friday night put Detroit in front for good. Sunday's version surged Detroit ahead after just two hits over their first six innings, but things were just getting started.
"I don't care how you win. Never have," Inge said. "Ugly, pretty, it doesn't matter. That's one where you scratch and claw."
Or in Inge's case, you keep running until you have to stop. By the time that happened in the 11th, he was on third base.
White Sox reliever Sergio Santos seemingly had retired the Tigers in order when Inge swung and missed at his slider in the dirt. When the ball skipped past A.J. Pierzynski and towards the backstop, it looked like Pierzynski might still have a chance at the out.
Instead, Pierzynski's hurried throw to first hit Inge and caromed into right field.
"That one literally helped me by hitting me," Inge said. "It was a fluke play, but when the ball hit me, that helped, because I could get an instant read on where the ball was. Otherwise, if you don't feel anything, you're searching. You're kind of running this direction knowing the ball's going this way, so you're waiting for it to come in and see if it's overthrown. That one, I instantly knew.
"I didn't know I could end up on third. In my mind, I was going to third [unless] I saw [third-base coach Gene] Lamont hold me up at second."
Get to third base, Inge thought, and he'd be in position to score on a wild pitch or passed ball if Santos happened to bury another pitch in the dirt. Instead, he was in position for Laird to plate after an intentional walk to Brennan Boesch.
Leyland said he stuck with Laird instead of pinch-hitting with Alex Avila because of the right-handed Santos, who had given up just a .224 batting average against left-handed hitters compared with .290 against righties. Laird's bunting ability wasn't a factor for Leyland, but it was a factor for the White Sox, who had third baseman Brent Morel creep in as a defense.
Laird hit Santos' 95-mph fastball hard enough through the left side that it likely wouldn't have made a difference, but it was a thought.
"I was just glad the skipper gave me a chance to hit right there," Laird said. "He did mention I was going to hit if I faced him. I was glad he did."
Minutes later, and after Austin Jackson doubled in an insurance run, Laird went from delivering at the plate to leaning behind it as he tried to wish Paul Konerko's drive foul. Laird joked that he nearly threw out his back again trying to lean, hoping Konerko's shot down the left-field line would hook in front of the foul pole for strike two rather than behind it for a walk-off homer.
The poke off an Eddie Bonine fastball ran the count full. Bonine caught him looking on the next pitch, another fastball, this one at the knees.
With Pierzynski up with two on and one out, Leyland went to Schlereth, whose only pro saves came last year at Double-A Mobile in the D-backs' system. He got a potential double play ground ball, but the Tigers managed only one out from it.
At that point, Leyland admitted, "I got nervous."
That sense heightened once Schlereth lost Carlos Quentin to a walk, loading the bases for Ramirez. It was a treacherous lefty-righty matchup, but one that had played out a couple times last year.
"I faced Manny last year a couple times," Schlereth said. "That's the first time I threw him a fastball. He rolled over on it, and I think he expected me to throw it again."
Instead, Schlereth went with a curveball and back-to-back breaking balls. Ramirez laid off all of them, but the last two were called for strikes.
Schlereth got a non-alchoholic beer shower from his teammates after the game and kept the game ball to give to his father, ESPN analyst and former NFL great Mark Schlereth. Leyland got the lineup card as a keepsake. Robbie Weinhardt got his second big league win for keeping the game tied in the ninth and 10th.
The Tigers got out of town.
"The bottom line is we won," Schlereth said. "We just swept the White Sox. That's a good team. Hopefully, we can keep this going."