|Final - 9.10.2013||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Chicago White Sox||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||7||4|
|WP: Rick Porcello (12 - 8)
LP: Erik Johnson (0 - 2)
The Detroit Tigers snapped a three game losing streak, increasing their lead in the Central to 5 1/2 games with an 9-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox all but gift wrapped a Detroit victory with four errors and a passed ball, accounting for five of the seven Tigers' runs being unearned.
Rick Porcello (12-8) was brilliant, acting as the stopper for the Tigers by tossing his first complete game in his 148th career start. Porcello allowed one run while scattering seven hits, walking just one, striking out five.
The White Sox's rookie starter, Erik Johnson (0-2), was betrayed by a lack of run support and defense. He struggled through 3 2/3 innings while scattering seven hits, allowing six runs, but just two of the runs were earned. The White Sox committed two errors and a passed ball while Johnson was on the mound.
Prince Fielder led the Tigers' offense with his second four hit game of the season, including a home run and two RBIs. Right behind Fielder in the hit parade was Alex Avila, who had his first four hit game in over two years, adding a walk and two ribbies. Austin Jackson, Victor Martinez and Jose Iglesias each added two hits and an RBI for the winners.
But the true star for the Tigers was White Sox third baseman Conor Gilliaspie, who committed three of the four White Sox errors, laying the groundwork for an easy Tigers' win. Gillaspie did contribute to the Pale Hose on offense, driving in their lone run with a fourth inning single. It didn't make up for the numerous defensive laspes, but it's something.
What a difference 24 hours makes. At this time on Monday, Tigers fans were in a near panic with the lead shrinking to 4 1/2 games. Tonight, it's a different story.
The Royals did the Tigers a solid by knocking off the Tribe. Porcello stepped up to beat a team the Tigers really should have little trouble in beating, the White Sox. And just like that, the lead it back to a more comfortable 5 1/2 games, and the Magic Number to clinch is cut by two to 13 with 17 left to play.
Even after a bad stretch of 1-5 baseball, the Tigers' playoff chances still stood at 97%. This team not the 2009 Tigers. The 2013 Tigers are a far better and more resilient, and the 2013 Indians are NOT the 2009 Twins.
Tigers entered today with 23.4% chance to win World Series, per Baseball Prospectus playoff odds. Highest in majors by far.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) September 11, 2013
The Tigers took an early lead off rookie starter Erik Johnson thanks to the White Sox being, well, the White Sox.
One out, Andy Dirks necked a single past a lunging Conor Gillaspie, advancing to second on a passed ball. Miguel Cabrera followed by hitting a slow chopper toward third. Gillaspie charged in, made a bare handed play and came up firing with an off-balance throw. Looking to avoid a broken arm as the ball was curving toward Cabrera, Paul Konerko wasn't able to fully reach for the errant toss, allowing it to sail into right field foul territory. Dirks scored on the throwing error, Cabrera taking second.
Prince Fielder singled to left, Cabrera ambling to third. A runner in scoring position with less than two out, Victor Martinez picked up the RBI with a fly ball deep enough to left to plate even a gimpy Cabrera. Two hits and a sacrifice fy had given the the Tigers had a 2-0 lead, helped greatly by the White Sox's passed ball and throwing error
Rick Porcello countered with a shutdown bottom of the first, Alexei Ramirez bouncing into a slick double play turned by Omar Infante and Jose Iglesias to end the inning
Johnson had a scoreless top of the second, but the Tigers had made him work, as shown by a pitch count of 50
Porcello found himself in a two on two out jam in the bottom half of the inning. Kornerko singled with one out, Gillaspie grounding a double into the right field corner with two down. Fist pitch swinging, Dayan Viciedo hit a vicious line drive up the middle, Procello making a self-defense/look what I found/HOLY CRAP I'M OK catch.
Two down in the third, Fielder buggy-whipped Johnson's inside fastball, absolutely smoking a line drive which just cleared the right field fence at the 335' mark. Fielder's 23rd home run pushed the Tigers' lead to 3-0 (MLB.com video).
You can't hit a ball much harder than Fielder did.
3 seconds from contact to clear the fence. Holy wow.— Melissa Heyboer (@MelissaHeyboer) September 11, 2013
Martinez kept the inning alive with a single to left. Then the White Sox reverted back to "We're the White Sox" mode. Johnson walked Don Kelly to extend the inning. Two on and still two out, Infante hit a hard ground ball to Gillaspie's left, but his throw, once again, sailed toward the runner. Konerko sno-coned the catch, but couldn't hold on, dropping the ball as he tried to tag Infante.The play was scored E3, loading the bases.
Alex Avila made the White Sox pay for their sloppiness by lining a single to center, two runs scoring to make it 5-0 Tigers.
Given a five run cushion, Porcello allowed a runner to reach third, but again pitched out of trouble. Josh Phegley led off with a single, advanced to second on a ground ball. Two down, a Porcello wild pitch advanced Phegley to third. But Ramirez struck out swinging, stranding Phegley 90 feet short of home.
His pitch count pushing 80 and ex-Tiger David Purcey warming up, Johnson was still on the mound to start the fourth. Austin Jackson led off the inning with a ground rule double, a fly ball down the right field line which landed an inch or two fair in the right field corner.
Havign struck out Dirks and Cabrera, Johnson was on the verge of getting out of the inning. But Fielder, who has warmed up at the plate as of late (1.047 OPS over his last 11 games), came through with a two out base hit, sacrificing his bat in in the process. Johnson shattered Fielder's bat, but was still able to muscle a line drive to center (nearly taking out second base umpire Manny Gonzalez) for an RBI single, Jackson crossing the plate to make it a 6-0 game.
Johnson uncorked wild pitch to move Fielder over, then walked Martinez. Johnson having allowed six runs (though only one was earned) and pitch count of 96, manager Robin Ventrua finally gave his rookie the hook.
Putcey entered the game, needing one pitch to retire Kelly on a pop up, ending the the threat. But the Tigers had scored for the third time in four innings, taking a six run lead into the bottom of the fourth. That was a very good sign for Porcello.
Porcello is 9-1 when the #Tigers give him 6 or more runs in support— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) September 11, 2013
Bottom of four, Porcello pitched into another jam. This time, he couldn't pitch completely out of it.
Konerko singled with one out. Ex-Tiger Avisail Garcia was fooled on a two strike breaking ball, but reached base on a swinging bunt. Gillaspie somewhat made up for his misadventures with the glove, singling to right to drive in the first White Sox run of the night. Kelly booted the ball in right, allowing Garcia to take third on the E9.
Porcello induced Viciedo to go fishing, swinging through a high fastball for the second out. The damage was kept to a minimum, Phegley ending the rally by bouncing out to Cabrera, stranding a pair of runners
Gillaspie's defensive nightmare of a game continued in the fifth. Avila led off the inning with a double to right center, reaching base for the third straight at bat. It looked as if that was where he would remain, Jackson bouncing to Gillaspie with two down. But Gillaspie's throw was well off target, skipping past Kornerko (who flashed a concrete glove of his own) into right, allowing the fifth unearned run of the game to cross the plate in Avila.
The Tigers up 7-1, Porcello cruised through the bottom half of the fifth with a 1-2-3 inning.
Game over? Definitely GAME OVER despite four innings being left to play.
New inning, new pitcher for the White Sox - left-hander Charlie Leesman took over in the sixth. Cabrera narrowly missed a home run, Garcia pulling down his long fly ball to right just short of the wall. Leesman's teammates actually played something resembling good defense, turning a double play to end a scoreless inning.
But the defense was far too little and much too late. Porcello was now cruising along, having retired eight straight after setting the White Sox down in order in the sixth.
The defense I just mentioned? It was a one inning aberration. Gillaspie committed his third E5 of the night on Kelly's ground ball, just plain whiffing on a two-hopper.
GillaspiE5— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) September 11, 2013
Infante hit another ground ball to Gillaspie, but he actually fielded this one cleanly, fir9ing to second to start a double play. But give credit on the twin killing to Beckham, who had to stretch to keep his foot on the bag as Gillaspie's throw damn near sailed away.
Avila would reach base for the fourth straight at bat, singling to left. Iglesias boucned a double over third base, giving the tigers a chance to extend their lead. Leesman would leave the defense to himself in order to get out of trouble, easily handling Jackson's comebacker to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.
Not that Porcello would need any insurance runs, as he had turned on beast mode. Make it 11 straight White Sox batters taking a seat, Porcello motoring through a 1-2-3 seventh. His pitch count at 89, Porcello likely had at least one more inning in him.
While Porcello was shredding White Sox, news came the Royals had beaten the Indians, lowering the Tigers' Magic Number to 14. They were six outs away from it being just 13.
Make it three outs to the Magic Number of 13. Porcello was not just on track for the win, but his first career complete game as well. He needed a mere five pitches in the bottom of the eighth to extend his consecutive out streak to 14.
With a pitch count of 94, there was no "Handshakle of Doom" from Jim Leyland. Porcello would be on the mound to start the ninth inning.
The Tigers added a pair of garbage time runs against the fifth White Sox hurler of the night off another rookie right-hander, Daniel Webb. In an inning where Avila had his fourth hit of the night, Iglesias and Jackson capped off the Tigers' scoring with RBI singles.
It's not that Porcello needed the runs, but think of the run differential!
The game long over, the only drama remaining was Porcello's quest for a complete game. Just in case, Jose Veras was warming up for the Tigers.
Veras wouldn't be needed.
The consecutive out streak came to an end when Mr. Three True Outcomes earned a true outcome by working the White Sox's first base on balls of the game. Dunn was quickly eliminated when Konerko bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.
Porcello earned his complete game victory in style, striking out Mini-Miggy on his 105th pitch.
GAME OVER! Your final score is Tigers 9, White Sox 1.
If this shot of a happy starter and his catcher doesn't warm your jaded baseball fan cockles, I don't know what could.
Click below for hug filled GIF!
The 9-1 victory reduces the Magic Number to 13, while raising the Tigers' record to 83-62 (.572) and their lead over the Indians to 5 1/2 games in the Central. They still trail the 83-61 (.576) Athletics by a half game for the second best overall record. The Red Sox are pulling away ihn the race for playoff home field, pushing their record to 88-58 (.603) with a win over the Rays.
Wednesday night's final game of the road trip has Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers taking on another left-hander in Jose Quintana. The 24 year old Quintana has not won a game since August 16. In the four starts since, Quintana has not allowed more than three runs in any appearance, yet only has a 0-2, 3.97 ERA to show for it. The first of those losses Qunitana only pitched one inning due to a long rain delay.
Sanchez has won his last two starts and is coming off a vintage performance (seven innings, allowing one run on seven hits) in a blowout win over the Royals. Sanchez still owns AL lead in ERA at 2.61.
The last first pitch in Chicago for this season is set for 8:10 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
The White Sox's brutal defense allowed four unearned runs in less than four innings.
Even the Hawk would agree, they need to just rename the song "Yakkety Sox"— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) September 11, 2013
With one down in the third, Gordon Beckham hit a slow roller to short. Jose Iglesias made a ridiculously quick "blink and you missed it" throw to first for the out.
I audibly snorted when Iglesias released that throw. Da-yam— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) September 11, 2013
Watch the throw Iglesias just made, and you'll know why Jhonny Peralta is not going to be the the shortstop in October.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) September 11, 2013
What a difference a big lead over the White Sox (and the Indians losing) makes.
Wow. #Tigers panic level appears to be about a 1 right now -- down from 9 just 100 minutes ago.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 11, 2013
It was Conor Gillaspie's night of shame.
Maybe the White Sox should just play without a third baseman. Not sure anyone would notice a difference— General McArfur (@spacemnkymafia) September 11, 2013
Haha poor Gillespie.— Alexandrwuaooooo (@catswithbats) September 11, 2013
Gillaspie turns the DP, but cannot erase the shame of this night.— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) September 11, 2013
This is one of the worst performances I've ever seen in the field by a singular player.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) September 11, 2013
Max Scherzer still has the most starts in MLB without a complete game by an active pitcher at 162. Porcello WAS number two on the list. That spot now belongs to Bud Norris of the Orioles with 126.
Break out the Lance Parrish pics!
NEW MAGIC NUMBER!!! pic.twitter.com/4bl1feAS5O— HookSlide (@CabrerasCorner) September 11, 2013
Rick Porcello: Best start of his career. Rick Porcello, ace? Rick Porcello, stopper? For night, sure!
Prince Fielder: Had his second four hit game of the season, the first happening in the sepia toned days of April. With Miguel Cabrera still getting over his injuries, a hot Fielder can help to pick up the slack.
Alex Avila: Reached base four times, coming through with a two out, bases loaded hit.
Conor Gillaspie: Contributed more than his fair share to the Tigers' cause with three errors, also playing a par in the fourth.
Fear mongerers: The sports talk radio types pumping the airwaves full of "Will the Tigers blow it?" and "Are the Tigers in trouble?" BS.
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Only two Tigers, Jose Alvarez (three scoreless innings of relief) and Victor Martinez (two hits, one a home run) stood out in a 5-1 loss. The PotG vote was a virtual tie, Martinez topping Alvarez by just two votes.