The Chicago White Sox broke open a tight 1-1 game by scoring seven runs in the eighth inning against three Detroit Tigers pitchers, pulling away late to win 11-4.
Winning pitcher Jose Quintana shut down the Tigers' bats for the majority of the night. Quintana held the Tigers to six hits and three runs over eight innings, two of the runs coming after the White Sox had blown the game open by taking a seven-run lead.
Unable to have a 1-2-3 inning while pitching into the seventh, Justin Verlander (9-6) was in and out of trouble all night, ultimately tagged with 12 hits and five runs. Three Tigers' relievers, Al Alburquerque, Phil Coke and Evan Reed, didn't do much of anything, allowing 11 hits and six runs in a whole two innings of work.
The White Sox had a season-high 23 hits, led by Alex Ríos career night - 6-for-6 with two RBIs, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases. Dayan Viciedo added four hits, a home run and four RBIs, Adam Dunn joining in on the fun with three hits, a home run and three RBIs.
All the Tigers offense came via the home run. Matt Tuiasosopo and Don Kelly each hit solo shots and Miguel Cabrera added a two-run bomb to increase his AL-leading RBI total to 92.
Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail. Over the final two innings, the Tigers were nailed.
After a 37-minute delay, the game was finally underway. After retiring the first two White Sox he faced, Verlander allowed a single to Alex Ríos and walked the lumbering Adam Dunn. Verlander was able to end the mini-threat with little trouble, Jeff Keppinger bouncing into a 5-4 fielder's choice.
Runners on second and third with one down in the second, the Tigers threatened ... wait for it ... but did not score.
Extending his hitting streak to 11 games, Victor Martinez singled to left. Jhonny Peralta bounced single up the middle, shallow center, Martinez taking second. With Matt Tuiasosopo at the plate with a 2-2 count, a Josh Phegley passed ball advanced both runners into scoring position.
Quintana then bore down, striking out both Tuiasosopo and Hernan Perez to pitch out of the jam.
Verlander had allowed White Sox base runners in the first two innings, the third was no exception. After two were down, Rios ripped a gapper to right center. The liner rolled all the way to Bermuda Triangle out by the flag pole; by the time Austin Jackson ran it down, Rios had himself an easy triple. But the Tigers had the shift on for Dunn, which worked to perfection. Mr. Three True Outcomes ended the inning by bouncing out to Miguel Cabrera, who was playing playing closer to shortstop than third.
For the fourth straight inning, Verlander allowed a two-out hit, rookie Conor Gillaspie singling through the right side past a diving Perez. For the fourth straight inning, Verlander shuit the door, Dayan Viciedo flying out.
The Tigers inability to hit lefties meant Quintana was having a little less trouble than Verlander. Through four innings, Quintana had scattered three singles (two to Martinez), striking out five.
More of the same from Verlander in the fifth. No problem getting the first two outs, then surrendering a two-out hit. This time around it was Ramirez bouncing a single through the left side. Verlander then busted Rios on the fists, but he somehow lifted a softly hit looper past Perez for a single. Rios' third hit put runners on the corners for Dunn.
Verlander focusing more on Dunn, Rios easily stole second without a throw. Dunn swung through a letter-high 96 MPH fastball to end the threat, neither team showing the ability to score a run.
It had been an odd game for Verlander. You never felt he was ever in serious trouble, but had been getting hit hard with two outs.
From the "You Couldn't Do That Again If You Tried" File: White Sox are 6-for-11 with two outs through five innings, and have 0 runs.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 10, 2013
Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Tuiasosopo woke up a wet and quiet Comerica Park crowd by turning on a Qunitana a 90 MPH pitch and lining it over the left field bullpens. Tuiasosopo had gone yard for the second straight game, number five on the season giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Of course, Verlander could not finish out an inning 1-2-3. Sooner or later it was going to catch up with Verlander. It finally happened in the sixth, costing the Tigers the lead. With two out, Viciedo got under of a 90 MPH 3-1 fastball, launching a high fly ball which landed in the left field seats in almost the same spot as Tuiasosopo's big fly. Home run number six for Viciedo knotted the game at 1-all. Of course, Verladner would only need one pitch to finally get out of the inning, Gordon Beckham sending a can of corn to Jackson.
More frustrating than Verlander's proclivity for allowing two-out hits was the Tigers failure to make Quintana work. Fielder drew the first walk off Quintana with two out in the sixth. But that was the exception to the rule, Martinez hacking away at the first pitch following the base on balls, fouling out to end the inning. Quintana was at 79 pitches through six compared to Verlander's 90.
Verlander changed things up in the seventh, giving up a one-out infield single to Alejandro De Aza. De Aza proceeded to run the White Sox out of the inning. Running on the pitch, Ramirez flipped a lazy foul pop to Fielder. Head down, never bothering to look for the ball, De Aza was a double play waiting to happen. Fielder just had to toss the ball to Verlander covering the bag for the easy double play.
His pitch count at 100 entering the eighth, Verlander remained in the game, the score still knotted at 1-all. Verlander had been working without a safety net all night, and it finally caught up with him. Two batters into the inning, the White Sox were up 3-1. Two batters after that, Verlander was out of the game.
Rios led off with a single to left. Dunn then crushed a 94 MPH fastball over the right field wall. True outcome number 24 on the season had given the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
Keppinger and Gillaspie followed with back-to-back singles, knocking Verlander out of the game. Jim Leyland went to Al Alburquerque out of the pen. Instead of putting out the fire, Al-Al broke out the high octane as all Hell broke loose.
Viciedo took Alburquerque to the opposite field for his second home run in as many at bats. The Earl Weaver Special all but put the game out of reach at 6-1. Five of the runs would be charged to Verlander, who allowed a season-high 12 hits.
As for Alburquerque, in his career he had not allowed a home run to the first 334 batters he faced in the regular season. He has now given up home runs in consecutive appearances.
It didn't get any better for Alburquerque. He got the next two outs, then allowed three consecutive singles to De Aza, Ramirez and Rios. Rios' fifth hit of the game both drove in the sixth run of the inning and drove Alburquerque out of the game.
The eighth having spun wildly out of control, Phil Coke got the call out of the pen. Dunn greeted him with his second hit of the inning, an RBI single to make it 8-1. On the play, Jackson made a ridiculous throw far over the head of Cabrera. Already battling back issues, the AL's leading hitter came up holding his side after leaping for the errant throw, sending the fan base into a panic.
COMMENCE CABRERA FREAK OUT ... NOW— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) July 10, 2013
Coke walked the bases loaded before finally ending the inning on a Gillaspie nubber to Fielder.
The ugly totals - In a 25-minute half-inning, the White Sox sent 13 to the plate, scoring seven runs on nine hits. Two were home runs, the rest singles. To add insult to injury there was a walk, a stolen base and it took three Tigers pitchers to make it through the inning. The seven runs scored was the most by the White Sox in an inning this season.
Game over, even though the Tigers still had six outs at their disposal.
The Tigers finally got to Qunitana with two down in the bottom of the eighth. Torii Hunter on second after a single and passed ball, Cabrera made the score a tad more respectable by taking Qunitana deep for his 29th home run of the season. So much for the "Cabrera's hurt!" scare. With the big fly, Cabrera has a legit shot at have 30 home runs and 100 RBIs at the break, now at 29 and 92 in 89 games.
Evan Reed pitching the ninth, backed by some sloppy defense, the White Sox tacked on six hits and three runs to make it an 11-3 blowout. The White Sox had not only had their best inning of the season with the seven-run eighth, they now had reached a season-high in hits with 23.
Don Kelly extended a lousy couple of innings with a two-out home run off Simon Castroin the ninth. Because Donnie Baseball.
That was it for the scoring, which is really saying something considering only two runs were scored in the first seven innings. A mere 13 baserunners crossed the plate in the eighth and ninth. Baseball is a funny (as in mean spirited) game.
Game over. (Double checks, sees no one on base.) Your final score is White Sox 11, Tigers 4, Tigers fans one large headache.
Anyone who says the bullpen is fixed can point to this game as proof otherwise. Al Alburquerque is what he is, and what he is scarily undependable. Phil Coke is having an awful season and didn't impress tonight. Evan Reed shouldn't even be in the big leagues.When you have a two-man bullpen, nights like tonight happen.
As for the offense? Quintana isn't a bad pitcher by any means, but the Tigers' inability to hit lefties is still confounding.
But it's just one game, the Tigers remain in first pace and they were coming off a very successful 11-game road trip. Keep in mind the schedule makers have done the Tigers absolutely no favors. They are in midst of a stretch of 20 straight games without a day off, forced to start the home stand immediately after being out of town for their longest trip of the year. I don't care who you play, I'm not at all surprised the Tigers looked out of sorts tonight.
The Tigers have reached their high water mark of ten games over .500 three times this season. Once again, they couldn't make it 11, the loss dropping the Tigers to 49-40 overall. Their lead in the Central shrinks to 2 1/2 games thanks to the Indians knocking off the Blue Jays.
In game two of the series, the White Sox send right-hander Dylan Axelrod (3-5, 4.97 ERA) to mound, who last won on May 26. In his last start, Axelrod was rocked by the Rays for five runs and nine hits in just 1 2/3 innings. The Tigers roll with Rick Porcello (5-6, 4.82 ERA), who shut out the Indians on five hits over seven innings on Friday. Comerica Park first pitch is set for 7:08.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Another day, another rain delay. Tonight's game didn't start until 7:45.
Weird stat of the night:
The first 4 batters in the Chicago lineup tonight have names that start with A.— Roar of the Tigers (@RoarTigers) July 9, 2013
Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramírez, Alex Ríos and he of the Three True Outcomes, Adam Dunn.Unfortunately, number five hitter Jeff Keppinger ruins the symmetry.
Hernan Perez made his presence felt in the first inning, showing off his speed and glove running down a pop up to short right off the bat of Ramirez. It was a play Ramon Santiago doesn't make. At the plate, Perez looked like a kid fresh out of Double-A Erie - 0-for-4 with strikeout with runners in scoring position.
"The power of the floppy hat"
Matt Tuiasosopo agrees, homering while FSD was making Floppy Hay Lady the focus of the broadcast. Click for GIF floppy hat goodness:
GIF via Tiwtter must follow @WorldofIsaac.
De Aza's running the White Sox out of the seventh inning quickly led to Nick Swisher comparisons ... in that De Aza made the Bro King look good
Alejandro De Aza just made Nick Swisher look like a baserunning genius. That's one of the worst mistakes I've ever seen on the bases.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 10, 2013
De Aza just Swisher'd himself by not knowing where the ball was— Bryan Craves (@DisplacedTgrFan) July 10, 2013
About as fast as I've seen Verlander run to cover first — knew he was going to get a putout, thanks to De Aza's brain fart.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 10, 2013
Justin Verlander's reaction to Dunn's eighth inning home run was profanely predictable. Cick for GIF F-bomb:
Once again a hat tip to @WorldofIsaac.
Rios entered the game hitting .267. Six hits in six at bats later, he ended it with a .281 average. He also became the first player ever to go 4-for-4 against Verlander.
Miguel Cabrera did reach a franchise milestone in the loss. His 29 home runs are the most by any Tiger before the All-Star break. Keep in mind Cabrera still has five games left to play before leaving for the All-Star Game.
The White Sox forced ESPN Stats & Info to work overtime:
Alex Rios now has 6 hits in a game for 1st time in his career. Rios is 1st White Sox player w/ 6 hits in a game since Lance Johnson in 1995.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2013
Alex Rios is the 1st MLB player with at least 6 hits and 2 stolen bases in a game since Sammy Sosa in 1993.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2013
The White Sox had 23 hits tonight, the most by any team since the Rockies had 25 vs Astros on Sept. 25, 2011.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2013
It sure was one of "those" games.
Matt Tuiasosopo: Homering for the second straight game, Tuiasosopo gave the Tigers an early lead. All Big Squiggles does when he plays is hit the ball damn hard.
Miguel Cabrera: Two run homer keeps alive his shot at having 100 RBIs at the break.
Don Kelly: Donnie Baseball was 1-for-1 with a home run.
The weather: Rain delays are the bane of a recapper (Shakes fist at Mother Nature).
Al Alburquerque - Phil Coke - Evan Reed: If Jim Leyland still says he trusts Alburquerque or his bullpen is fixed, he's blowing smoke up your (pick an orifice).
The Tigers' offense: The mysterious nature of the Tigers' bats is a real head-scratcher. Only one run in seven innings left Verlander no margin for error.
Justin Verlander: For whatever reason, he was great with less than two out. But getting that third out was next to impossible, ultimately allowing a base runner in every inning. The eighth was the dagger, being charged with five runs.
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TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
|1||Joaquin on Sunshine||133|
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|# Recs||Commenter||Comment Link|
|8||Joaquin on Sunshine||I hope Perez begins Hernan his paycheck today.|
|2||BadCompany22||If Coke or AlAl had come out, they would've given up five runs in just four PA|
Victor Martinez's game winning double in extra innings made the Tigers' DH our PotG, carrying 77% of the vote.
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