Apr 15, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Snap Reaction: Starting pitcher Rick Porcello was in command, allowing only 1 run in 7 2/3 innings, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. With the victory, the Tigers avoided being swept in Chicago, ending a 2 game losing streak and moving back into 1st place in the AL Central.
The man Rod Allen loves to call G$, backup catcher Gerald Laird, woke the Tigers' offense out of a 2 day slumber almost single-handedly with a 3-4 afternoon. G$ started things off in the 3rd inning, crushing a no-doubt solo home run deep in the left field seats off of White Sox starter Chris Sale, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers extended their lead in the 5th. Jhonny Peralta lef off with a double. Laird hit a high fly CF Alejandro De Aza immediately broke back on, but the wind knocked the ball down, falling in front of him for a bizarre double. Peralta could only advance as far as 3rd base on Laird's hit, as well, it was that bizarre. But Sale continued to help the Tigers' cause, his wild pitch sending Peralta home. A.J. Pierzynski tried to sell the home plate umpire on Austin Jackson being hit by the pitch, but no one was buying, to Tigers fans immense enjoyment.
In the 6th, the Tigers upped their lead to 3-0. Prince Fielder led off the inning with a double, knocking Sale out of the game. Nate Jones relieved, allowed a Delmon Young single, then uncorked a wild pitch, Fielder rumbling home to score. The look of disgust on the face of Pierzynski as Fielder stomped on the plate was priceless. The Tigers would go on to load the bases with no one out, but as has been their M.O. in this series, failed to capitalize.
Porcello had been on cruise control in the 8th, retiring 9 White Sox batters in a row, when Dayan Viciedo took a 2 out, 2 strike pitch over the wall in left center to make it a 3-1 game. Eduardo Escobar then singled, ending Porcello's excellent start. Joaquin Benoit made the inning a little more interesting by walking De Aza, then falling behind 3-2 to Brent Morel. But Benoit got Morel to flail weakly at what would have been ball 4 to end the White Sox threat.
In the 9th, consecutive singles by Laird, Jackson and Ramon Santiago made it a 4-1 game. Fielder chimed in with an RBI single, giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead. Good thing, as Jose Valverde had a very shaky 9th, allowing 3 hits (though he was not at all helped by Ryan Raburn misplaying a deep fly into a gift lead off double for Adam Dunn) and the tying run to come to the plate in Viciedo. But Papa Grande struck out him out swinging, and Tigers escaped the Windy City with a 5-2 victory.
But the stories of the game were Rick Porcello and Gerald Laird. Porcello is the first Tigers' starting pitcher to get credit for a win this season, and Laird was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.