The Detroit Tigers last saw the Chicago White Sox just five days ago at Comerica Park. The White Sox was rising under interim manager Miguel Cairo and making a splash in the MLS Central. They took two out of the Tigers’ three games, and it ended with a blast on Sunday afternoon.
The two teams met again Friday night at a guaranteed rate field. The White Sox stumbled, swept away by the number one Cleveland Guardians. The Tigers just took two out of three against the Baltimore Orioles.
On Friday, the Tigers scored early and the White Sox answered late, but there wasn’t much to beat. The Tigers won 5-3 in the first three games of the series, thanks to a pair of key bases stolen from Akil Badu and Willy Castro in the seventh and eighth games, respectively.
“We know where everyone is in the standings,” coach AJ Hench told reporters in Chicago. “We know what they went through to get here. We want to try to win as many series as possible to end the year. But we know they’re in their wake a little bit coming out of that series. We wanted to be aggressive. We wanted to take the lead early on. Both were in our interest.”
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The Tigers (58-92), a winner in three out of four, took the lead – and refused to give it up – in the Riley Greene fly in the seventh sacrifice from Reinaldo Lopez. Before Greene flew to center, Baddoo sorted and stole second base and advanced to third base on a foul by catcher Yasmani Grandal.
“Anytime Akil steps up, there’s going to be an opportunity to put some pressure on someone,” Hinch said. “He did. He kept his head up and made it to third base.”
Against left-handed Eduardo Rodriguez, the White Sox had little activity on the bases until scoring their first in the third inning in three singles. They tied 3-3 with two runs in the sixth and finished Rodriguez’s outing.
Rodriguez allowed three eight-stroke runs and one three-stroke walk across six innings.
To get to the finish line, after taking a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning, the Tigers needed a smooth effort of three relief shooters, and that’s exactly what Alex Lange’s right-hand man, Jose Cisnero, left-man Andrew Chavin, and the closest left-handed Gregory did. Soto handed over.
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Cisnero carried the rules on one walk and one hit by court with two outs in the eighth inning. Chavin went in and hit batsman Romy Gonzalez, the right-handed batsman, in four pitches.
“It’s obviously a big place in the game where one person connects the match and creates a lot of momentum,” Hinch said. “I’m really proud of our guys. We came back from a big hit with Homer and we answered. There’s a lot to like about tonight’s win.”
Soto scored the twenty-seventh in the ninth net.
The Tigers added a security boost in eighth place on two-claw Spencer Turkelson in a 3-0 fastball inside the strike zone. Miguel Cabrera walked in and was replaced by Willy Castro, the hacker runner, who hit second base and advanced to third on the field, then scored two goals from Torkelson. The next two hitters retired, but Torkelson saved the inning.
“I love the green light there,” Hinch said.
get up early
Right-handed Lucas Giolito straightened and went six rounds, but the Tigers attacked him for three runs in the first and second innings. The success, of course, began with an impressive eight-pitch walk from leading hitter Riley Greene.
He trailed 0-2 on the count, fouled out of the third court, then took four of the next five pitches to pass the free pass. He was only swinging the pitches inside the strike zone. He then moved to third base on Javier Páez’s No. 27 double and crossed the house on the ground for Cabrera to take a 1-0 lead.
Eric Haas’ RBI single increased the lead to 2-0.
“We got impatient early on,” Hinch said. “At least Riley was able to work on that really good run to start the game… We won the big moments when we needed to, but it started when Riley put in a really good hit and control of the strike zone.”
Jonathan Schaup opened the second half by crushing a fastball, the first he saw in the racket, for a singles run at home. He has 11 homes this season, behind Baez (14), Jimer Candelario (13) and Hussey (12).
From that point on, Giulito locked the Tigers into one lead in the third inning, a one-hit lead in the fifth and one leading in the sixth. He finished sixth with a final double play.
defense is important
ChiSox’s three singles capped Jose Abreu’s RBI with two third-inning wins for their first Chicago tour. singled out Adam Engel on a 1-2 sinker; Elvis Andros on a 1-0 change; and Abreu on a sinker 2-0.
To finish the fifth game, third baseman Ryan Criddler picked a tough hopper and started double play at the end of the first half. He fired a shot at Schoop at second base, and Schoop used his elite arm power to get rid of Torkelson outstretched on first base.
The White Sox challenged Rodriguez for sixth, when Eloy Jimenez hit a single that Rodriguez tried to bring down with his foot. Rodriguez was checked, by athletic coach Doug Tetter, on a game-changing swing three pitches later.
AJ Pollock fired his home race twice, his 14th of the year, to tie it 3-3. Grandal kept his foot on the gas with a singles double, but Rodriguez escaped further damage when Tiger caught former Josh Harrison to the ground and Adam Engel knocked out.
For 85 pitches (55 strokes), Rodriguez used 26 four-stage speedballs (31%), 26 plungers (31%), 19 breakers (22%), 13 changes (15%) and one slider (1%) . Score five swings and misses: one fastball, two breakouts, and two shifts.