DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers scored four runs in a 7-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox Thursday afternoon and Drew Smyly received a no-decision after being pulled after five innings of 11-hit ball. Thanks to the trade deadline, though, the game seemed to be more of a second thought rather than a series-deciding game, which the Tigers lost.
With a crowd of 41,306 in attendance, Smyly came into Thursday's game fresh off a season-best start to give up four runs in just five innings. An inefficient outing drove Smyly's pitch count to 95 as he failed to record a single 1-2-3 innings while striking out only two batters in that time. Smyly may not have allowed a home run or walk a batter, and the Tigers defense failed to come to his aid at times, however, giving up 11 hits isn't a recipe for success and Smyly allowed more hits in Thursday's outing than his two previous combined (8).
The Tigers offense meanwhile, was inconsistent at best. Back-to-back home runs by Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez in the third inning put the Tigers in the lead for the first time in the game, but several baserunning blunders and another bad day for Alex Avila against a left-handed starter resulted in several missed scoring opportunities at third base.
After White Sox starting pitcher John Danks was pulled in the fifth inning after a poor outing of his own, the White Sox bullpen easily silenced the Tigers bats. A two out single in the seventh, a leadoff walk in the eighth and two hits in the ninth did little to shake things up as the Tigers went down without so much as a whisper.
The Tigers bullpen went through five pitchers after Smyly departed, and between the four innings Al Alburquerque and Blaine Hardy were the only two to not surrender a hit.
Joakim Soria had a better outing Thursday as he struck out two in the seventh inning, but it still could have been better. A wild pitch after a leadoff strikeout put Adam Eaton at first and an intentional walk to Jose Abreu loaded the bases. Following the first out on a pop out of Conor Gillaspie, Paul Konerko was hit by a pitch that forced in the go-ahead run for the White Sox.
Joba Chamberlain had his second consecutive shaky start and was pulled after only 1/3 of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walked batter. He did not record a strikeout and was replaced by Blaine Hardy who shut down the inning. Phil Coke came out for the ninth inning and gave up a hit but nothing more.
However, the ringer of all plays happened mid-bat on a 2-2 count at 3:55pm with Gordon Beckham at the plate. Following the announcement that the Tigers had acquired David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-way trade, Rajai Davis replaced Austin Jackson in center field as Jackson learned he had been traded. Jackson departed to a roaring standing ovation and a mixed reaction of astonishment and disbelief by fans in attendance.
The Tigers drop the series, are 4-6 in their last 10 games and their last series win occurred in Arizona when they took 2-3 from the Diamondbacks. The Tigers are now 58-46 with the Colorado Rockies coming to town for interleague play on Friday. The Tigers have an even 27-27 record at home, however the Rockies are 17-36 on the road, so there's that to look forward to.
Austin Jackson: After a leadoff hit batter and back-to-back walks were issued by John Danks in the second inning, Eugenio Suarez hit a sacrifice fly for the first run of the game. Jackson followed it up with an RBI single that put the Tigers within one of the White Sox. He would finish 2-4 for the day. A fitting way for Jackson to finish his tenure with the Tigers.
Torii Hunter: Being hit by a pitch in the second inning did little to slow Hunter down. He blasted a solo home run to the visiting bullpen with two out, which tied the game 3-3 at the time.
J.D. Martinez: Martinez the younger followed Hunter's solo shot with one of his own, this one to deep right field for back-to-back scorched homers. The home run gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead over the White Sox.
Nick Castellanos: He didn't get a hit but despite finishing 0-1, Castellanos drew three walks, one being intentional. Now, granted that might have something to do with Alex Avila hitting behind him, but it's always good to see Castellanos have a little patience at the plate. Castellanos' intentional walk in the fifth inning was also the first of his career.
Drew Smyly: It almost seems wrong to put Smyly in this column as he was traded almost immediately after his outing, but the young left-hander gave up 11 hits on four runs in five innings.
Alex Avila: Avila's inability to hit lefties continues to leave numerous scoring opportunities wasted and it's looking like an epidemic. In the second inning, Avila had a golden opportunity to score several runs with a mere single. Instead, a bases-loaded resulted in a 3-2 forceout at home. In the fifth inning Avila struck out with runners at the corners to end another opportunity.
Tigers offense: Inconsistent as all heck and despite several scoring opportunities in every inning, failed to capitalize on all but two of them and silly base-running blunders didn't help.
Tigers defense: Took a vacation in Bora Bora most likely. Ironically, the only starting outfielder without a blunder was Torii Hunter and while the only error was charged to Nick Castellanos, the Tigers defense was mostly missing.
After pulled in the fourth inning Tuesday night due to lower back tightness, Eugenio Suarez returned to the Tigers lineup.
Thursday the Tigers announced that Andy Dirks will begin his rehabilitation assignment with the Single-A Whitecaps on Friday. This is the second time Dirks has started a rehab assignment and because of the length of time since his last rehab stint, Dirks will need the full 20 days on assignment before the Tigers can call him up to Detroit.
With minutes left on the clock, the Tigers acquired David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-way trade with the Rays and the Seattle Mariners. In return for Price, Detroit sent Austin Jackson to the Mariners, and both Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames were traded to the Rays.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back home runs in the 3rd, which was the fifth time for the Tigers this season.
- After a slow start in the second half, J.D. Martinez's bat has woken up and in the three-game series against the White Sox he has four hits (including a triple and home run), four runs scored, and three RBI with a walk to boot.
- Eugenio Suarez's sacrifice fly in the second inning was the 47th sacrifice fly of the season for the Tigers and ties their total from last year.
- Austin Jackson's singles in the second and fourth innings gave him 15 multi-hit games in July, which is second most by a Tiger in July since 1969 (Ron LeFlore - 16, 1977).
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
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