The Detroit Tigers looked poised to win their third consecutive game early in tonight's matchup against the Chicago White Sox, but that rosy outlook quickly turned sour. The White Sox rode a big third inning against Tigers starter Shane Greene (3-2) to a 5-2 victory tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Tigers took one of their earliest leads of the season, scoring before most fans had found their seats. Anthony Gose lined the first pitch of the game into left field for a single, then stole second base on the very next pitch. Catcher Geovany Soto's throw got away from his infielders, and Gose advanced to third. Two pitches later, Ian Kinsler lined a single for a 1-0 lead. After the White Sox got a run back in the bottom of the inning, Alex Avila hit an opposite field solo home run that glanced off leftfielder Melky Cabrera's glove at the wall.
Greene had trouble in the first two innings, but the wheels came off in the bottom of the third. He was visibly struggling with his mechanics and command, and walked three consecutive White Sox batters, forcing in a run to tie the score at 2. Avisail Garcia bailed out Greene by grounding into a fielder's choice on a first-pitch fastball -- making the score 3-2 -- but Greene was unable to get through the rest of the inning. Conor Gillaspie ended Greene's night in the next at-bat, lining a bases clearing triple to right-center, giving the White Sox a 5-2 lead.
The Tigers threatened against Samardzija a couple of times, but were unable to cut into the deficit. They had two runners on base in both the fifth and seventh innings, but ended up stranding them on both occasions. Their best chance to score came in the seventh, when they had runners on first and second with one out. After Gose struck out, Kinsler hit a sharp liner off the backside of Samardzija, who was able to recoup and throw out Kinsler by a half-step at first base, ending the threat.
Chicago's new and improved bullpen worked like a charm tonight, as high-priced relievers Zach Duke and David Robertson retired six of the seven batters they faced -- the lone baserunner reached via error -- to close out the game.
Alex Wilson: Not only did Wilson escape a mini-jam with a runner on third base in the third inning, he also helped save the Tigers' bullpen with three additional innings. Wilson needed just 38 pitches to record 10 outs, working through the sixth inning.
Blaine Hardy and Angel Nesbitt: Both relievers recorded a snappy 1-2-3 inning, continuing Wilson's excellent work after Greene was removed from the game.
Shane Greene: After three brilliant starts to begin the season, Greene has given the Tigers three consecutive duds. He had trouble finding the strike zone tonight, walking four batters, including three in a row in the bottom of the third. It took him 57 pitches to record just eight outs, and he gave up five runs before departing.
Clutch hitting: The Tigers out-hit the White Sox on the night, but were unable to capitalize with runners on base. The middle of the order went hitless, including a big strikeout by Miguel Cabrera with two runners on in the fifth. The Tigers were 1 for 4 with runners in scoring position, and stranded six baserunners on the evening.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija has allowed three runs in 15 innings against the Tigers this season. He has allowed 17 runs in 24 innings against everyone else.
- The Tigers' 3-6 hitters were a combined 0 for 15 with one walk on the night. Yoenis Cespedes reached base twice: on a walk and an error by White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: