DETROIT--There were no first or second-inning dramatics, no home runs to start the game. The Chicago White Sox decided to save that for the seventh inning, and it was a less-than-ideal 27-minute half-inning for the Detroit Tigers.
Anibal Sanchez settled in very early on. Despite a hit that hugged the third base line for a single and broke up a developing no-hitter, Sanchez pitched to perfection for six innings on the first warm night of the season.
The seventh inning was another story. Conor Gillaspie got a hit to right field that Torii Hunter declared was foul and the Tigers challenged the call, but after review it was called a double and the Sox tied the game at 1-1. With one out, Dayan Viciedo doubled to deep center field to put the Sox ahead 2-1.
A single by Alexei Ramirez to left field resulted in a throwing error by left fielder Rajai Davis which allowed a third run to score. Alex Avila attempted to tag Viciedo at home but never touched him, and the White Sox finished the inning ahead 3-1.
After the third run in the seventh, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus pulled Sanchez out of the game. He finished the night having allowed five hits, three earned runs and a walk. Sanchez threw 92 pitches, 60 of which were strikes, striking out five.
The Tigers bats got plenty of hits here and there, but when it came down to it they had a problem getting runners home. Nearly every time there were runners in scoring position, it was with two out and every time, the batter popped, flew, lined, or grounded out to end the threat against the White Sox. Some of the hits were hit well, just not well enough.
A single by Torii Hunter and two back-to-back walks loaded the bases in the second inning. The lone run of the night for the Tigers came at the hands of Alex Avila, who hit an RBI groundout in the second inning to score Hunter.
The Tigers put the tying run on first base in the seventh, but an inning-ended double play by Ian Kinsler ended that threat. They got the tying run to the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings as well, but those threats were snuffed out by an Austin Jackson strikeout and an Ian Kinsler ground out, respectively.
The fans got to see J.D. Martinez make a high-leverage appearance in the ninth, after Alex Avila doubled. Martinez took a couple of good swings, but ultimately had to settle for a walk after working the count full. Following the game, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said that Danny Worth will more than likely make an appearance at some point in the remaining three games of the series.
The Tigers will take on the White Sox again tomorrow night. Justin Verlander is slated to start for Detroit. Chris Sale was the scheduled starter for Chicago, but it has been confirmed that Sale will go on the 15-day disabled list as of Monday night for a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. There is no official word yet on who will be pitching for the White Sox.