Max Scherzer was given a three run first inning lead courtesy of the Detroit Tigers' offense, but the Chicago White Sox countered with six unanswered runs off Detroit's ace to to take the first game of today's day/night doubleheader 6-3.
The loss drops the Tigers to one game back of the first place Kansas City Royals, who take on the surging Cleveland Indians tonight. With a doubleheader sweep and a Royals loss, the Tigers would have moved back into first place in the Central. A Saturday sweep now off the table, Detroit has to pin their hopes on their game two starter, rookie left-hander Kyle Reed, in hopes of salvaging a split of the twin-bill.
Chris Sale (W, 11-3) had a rocky first inning, but would settle in to completely dominate the Tigers. The White Sox lefty went seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out a season high 13 while walking just two. Three Chicago relievers held the Tigers scoreless over the final two innings, Jake Petricka pitching the ninth to record his tenth save.
Scherzer (L, 15-6) pitched into the seventh, but was pulled after 6 2/3 innings having allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits. Looking to earn his AL leading 16th win, Scherzer fell short despite striking out 11 and not walking a batter.
The White Sox outhit the Tigers 10-8, led by Jose Abreu's three hits, a run scored and one RBI. Tigers' pitching has been unable to stop the white hot Adam Eaton, who had two hits and is 4-for-8 in the series. Adding to the festivities were home runs from Adam Dunn (20) and Tyler Flowers (10).
The Tigers' offense can be summed up on two first inning swings of the bat - Ian Kinsler led off the game with a solo home run, Victor Martinez following with a two run shot to cap off the afternoon's scoring for Detroit.
Victor Martinez: Martinez hits Sale like Country Breakfast hits Justin Verlander. He was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, keeping his career batting average against Sale over .500.
Rajai Davis: Reached base three times on two singles and a base on balls.
The bullpen: Evan Reed and Pat McCoy held the White Sox at bay, tossing a combined 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Max Scherzer: He gave the Tigers needed innings, but his performance was small consolation considering the Tigers unexpectedly jumped on Chris Sale for three early runs. As Sale settled in to reach double digit strikeouts and shut down the Tigers' offense, Scherzer gave up the lead.
Miguel Cabrera: Am eighth inning single snapped an 0-for-15 skid, ending his day 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. Regardless, it's beginning to look like 2013 redux for Cabrera. There's a month left in the season, he has an injury which has completely sapped his power and won't heal unless he rests, and it's affecting his play for the worse in all phases of the game. But as hobbled as he appears to be to Tigers fans, a banged-up Cabrera is still better than the most major league players.
Miguel Cabrera's last 162 games: .301/.374/.476. Out of those 162, how many has he been healthy? Any?— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) August 30, 2014
Chris Sale: Sometimes the other team's talented guy just plain beats your talented guy. After a three hit, three run first inning, Sale was his normal, dominant self. Over his final six innings, Sale held the Tigers scoreless on three hits, ending his afternoon having struck out a baker's dozen. Sale threw 119 pitches, a remarkable 82 for strikes.
Watching Sale is like watching a master artist, except, he's painting a picture of you getting eaten alive by angry badgers— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 30, 2014
Robin Ventua: Elevating silly and unnecessary pitching changes to an art form.
Wait, seriously? That's it for Belisario, after 2 pitches? Ventura, you have outdone yourself this time.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 30, 2014
Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez know how to kick off a doubleheader with a bang! Leading off against Chris Sale, Kinsler gave Detroit a 1-0 lead by yanking a 1-2 fastball over the left field wall. A Torii Hunter single and one out later, Martinez also took Sale yard, a line shot to left putting the Tigers up 3-0. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that was it for the offense on the afternoon.
It was deja vu for Tigers fans. For the second consecutive game, a Tigers' starting pitcher threw away a first inning pick off attempt, with the exact same result. Alexei Ramirez was able to advance all the way to third base when Max Scherzer's throw to first skipped past Miguel Cabrera, who has trouble running on his bad ankle. Kinsler had to run the ball down from second base.
Kinsler compounded Scherzer's throwing error by booting what would have been an inning ending ground ball off the bat of Adam Dunn, allowing Ramirez to score. Through the first ten innings of the series, both White Sox runs could be attributed to errant, first inning pick off throws.
The wheels feel off on Scherzer in the third inning as the Tigers' ace coughed up the lead during a four batter stretch. The White Sox jumping all over breaking pitches, four consecutive hits were capped off by Adam Dunn's two run homer. Down 3-0 after 1/2 inning, the White Sox had taken a 5-3 advantage.
It was more of the same in the fourth. Light hitting Tyler Flowers (.236/.296/.361) pulled a Scherzer breaking ball off the left field foul pole to increase the White Sox's lead to 6-3.
Current game status: pic.twitter.com/ri3yacoZqs— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 30, 2014
In the seventh, the umpires botched a call which took away a Tigers' base runner. Torii Hunter was hit on back foot by Sale, but the ruling was he swung at the pitch. Replays showed Hunter had checked his swing, and then only kinda-sorta went around after he had been plunked. It's was a ridiculously bad call that could not be reviewed. Sale would go on to strike out Hunter to end the inning.
Replacing Scherzer with two down in the seventh, Evan Reed made his first appearance for the Tigers since June 17. Reed shut out the White Sox in his one inning of work.
STREAKS AND STATS:
Ian Kinsler is having a brutal second half, entering today hitting .223/.259/.296 since the break. His first inning home run was his 13th of the season, but only his second post All-Star break. Kinsler has just two home runs since he hit his 11th of the year of July 3. The other was a little more than a week ago, August 22.
Kinsler's home run was his second lead off big fly of 2014 and the 31st of his career.
It's not yet September, but every home run Victor Martinez hits increases his career high. His two run shot in the first inning was his 27th of the season. His previous single season high was 25 in 2007.
After going deep, Martinez was hitting .538 (14-for-26) with three homers in his career versus Sale. Ending the day 2-for-4, Martinez is hitting a mere .517 against Sale for his career.
Kinsler has had issues with the glove this month. His first inning miscue was his fourth in 28 August games.
An obviously not healthy Miguel Cabrera is struggling mightily, whiffing in his first three at-bats against Chris Sale. It's the first time this season he's gone done three times in one game on strikes. It also extended his hitless skein to 0-for-15 and slump to 4-for-31. He ended the afternoon 1-for-4, a late single snapping his out streak.Still, Cabrera is slumping, hitting .156 with just five hits in his last 32 at-bats.
Miguel Cabrera is on pace for an .857 OPS, which would be his lowest over a full MLB season. #Tigers— Freep Sports (@freepsports) August 30, 2014
You would expect the Tigers to win whenever former Cy Young winners David Price and Max Scherzer pitch. But just not this week. Price was rocked for eight runs and 12 hits in just two innings an in 8-4 loss to the Yankees Wednesday. Scherzer allowed six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings in today's loss.
The Tigers struck out 15 times against White Sox pitching. The only game with more Detroit whiffs was the 17 strikeout, 19 inning affair against the Toronto Blue Jays August 10.
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