DETROIT — The Tigers opened the final seven-game homestand of the season with a 2–0 loss as the Tigers bats were a no-show despite a solid outing by Kyle Lobstein. Solid performances by the Tigers' bullpen kept the White Sox off the basepaths, but in the end the Tigers' offense couldn't come through.
Kyle Lobstein (L, 1–1) gave the Tigers seven strong innings for the first time in his major league career, scattering just five hits and walking only one batter in that time. He struck out five and retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, but he was betrayed by his offense. A hung first-pitch changeup in the second inning with a runner on-base was all it took to give the White Sox a lead the Tigers would not take back, try as the White Sox might to give it back.
"He pitched great," Alex Avila said. "That's what we were asking of him. I think he pitched even better than what everybody's been expecting. He's got four pitches he can get you out with, he commands it, and he's been pitching very well for us."
The combined efforts of Joba Chamberlain in the eighth and Joakim Soria in the ninth gave the Tigers two shutout innings with two strikeouts. They allowed no hits and the only runner to reach was the result of an error by Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning. Soria helped Cabrera redeem himself quickly though and ended the ninth on a caught stealing of Jordan Danks who had his hand on Cabrera's foot on the tag instead of the base.
Despite two White Sox errors and several scoring opportunities the Tigers were unable to take the lead, let alone get on the board. While the offense outhit Chicago 6–5, they left eight men on-base and were 0–6 with runners in scoring position. Only Victor Martinez finished with multiple hits, finishing 2–2 with a double and a walk.
"(Bassitt) mixed pitches well," J.D. Martinez said. "I just feel like we missed a lot of balls. A lot of balls were hit hard. That was pretty much it. He throws hard, he throws 93. It isn't like he throws slow. He throws a lot of his off-speed. It's fine, a lot of guys are like that. Just one of those nights, I guess."
The Tigers have struggled against every team in the AL Central this season, except the Kansas City Royals. But now that they have finished their games with the Royals this season, only the White Sox and the Minnesota Twins remain. The Tigers have struggled against both teams, playing roughly .500 against them all season at one point or another. It makes this final week that much more important if the Tigers are going to win the division.
"I know. That's why I said it's not gonna be an easy last week," Martinez said. "It's going to be a grind, it's going to be a nail-biter because both those teams play us extremely well."
Torii Hunter: Made an amazing leaping catch in deep right field to rob Jose Abreu of extra bases in the first inning, and possibly an earlier White Sox lead with a runner on first. He finished 1–4 at the plate. (MLB.com video)
Victor Martinez: The only Tiger with multiple hits, finishing 2-2 with a walk and a double.
Kyle Lobstein: Allowed just two runs, a two-run home run to Tyler Flowers in the second inning. He gave up just five hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking just one batter. He retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, needing just 92 pitches.
Joba Chamberlain: Two strikeouts and no hits allowed. The Joba of old returned for a night.
Good Joba.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) September 23, 2014
Joakim Soria: He pitched ... with the Tigers trailing 2–0. However, he did so cleanly with the only runner reaching on an error by Cabrera. Soria needed just nine pitches to shut down the ninth, six of which were strikes.
Tigers offense: The Tigers put together a handful of hits, but they were unable to string together anything to get them on the board. A caught stealing in the first and a grounded-into double play in the third ended what would have been two scoring opportunities. Twice the Tigers were gifted opportunities by Alexei Ramirez, who had both of the White Sox's two errors for the night, and both times they were unable to capitalize.
Alex Avila: One of two Tigers to strike out, doing so three times, twice looking. Two times he struck out were with runners in scoring position. Some of the rust can be attributed to the fact he missed a week of playing time due to a concussion, but not all and certainly not the majority of it.
Ian Kinsler: His base-running blunders in the first inning likely cost the Tigers a run in the first inning and possibly the game or sending it into extra innings. Though the third inning could have progressed differently after, Kinsler grounded into a double play that was followed by single by Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. Cabrera's lineout in-between would have been the second out of the inning instead of the third, and Martinez's single would have scored Ezequiel Carrera to tie the game.
Monday the Tigers announced Anibal Sanchez will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday after missing six weeks of playing time.
Alex Avila had been held out of the lineup for a full week after being diagnosed with a concussion. Monday he was cleared by MLB and played in the game, batting seventh. He struck out three times.
The Royals lost 4–3 to the Indians on Monday in the 10th inning, completing of the suspended game from August 31. The win by the Indians gave the Tigers a momentary two-game lead in the AL Central.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera hit his 50th double of the season in the first inning, tying his single-season career high. He also had 50 doubles in 2006 with the Florida Marlins and his 50 doubles this season are the most in the American League this year. Cabrera also snapped an 0-for-10 skid with the double.
- Miguel Cabrera is the third Tiger in team history to have 50-or-more doubles, 20-or-more homers and 100-or-more RBI in a season. The only other players to do so were Hank Greenberg (1934, 1940) and Magglio Ordonez.
- Victor Martinez finished 2–2 with a walk and a double, giving him a .385 batting average with nine doubles, eight home runs, 32 RBI and 30 walks in his last 39 games. He has struck out just five times during that stretch.
- Monday marked the 10th time the Tigers have been shut out this season.
- Kyle Lobstein pitched a career-high seven innings and has allowed two-runs-or-fewer in four of his five starts this season with the Tigers.
- The Tigers' loss, coupled with a win by the Royals over the Indians drops the Tigers to a one-game lead over the Royals in the AL Central.
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