Alfredo Simon was not at his best as he struggled to command the strike zone, but the Detroit Tigers' offense paced by Victor Martinez's home run came through against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale. Unfortunately it was not enough due to a blown lead by Joba Chamberlain, and the Tigers lost 7-6 to the White Sox, dropping the series and a game that was well within their ability to win.
To say that Simon (4-1) was erratic is putting it mildy. By the end of the second inning, Simon had given up the game-tying run at the time, and his pitch count had climbed to 42. By the end of four, Simon was at 85 pitches and he'd struck out just two. Until the fifth inning strikeout, Simon hadn't struck out a batter since the first inning. At 103 pitches, Simon finally recorded his first 1-2-3 inning of the game ... in the fifth. And so ended his day.
Al Alburquerque replaced Simon and retired two, while giving up a single in the process. Once again, though, Alburquerque didn't look like the Al-Al of old. After he walked a batter and a groundout put the runner at third, Tom Gorzelanny was brought into the game to record the final out of the inning -- which he did, on two pitches. He, along with Angel Nesbitt combined for 1 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Unfortunately, it was all undone when Joba Chamberlain gave up a three-run blast in the eighth, followed by the game-winning run for the White Sox.
Offensively, the Tigers found a way to get to White Sox starter Chris Sale, on some level, continuing the lefthander's struggles to start the year. The Detroit offense scored runs in the first, third, fifth, and sixth innings, and Victor Martinez had himself a day. The designated hitter drove in four of the Tigers' runs, including a two-run shot to left and scoring once.
After driving Sale from the game in the sixth, the White Sox brought in right-handed reliever Jake Petricka. After loading the bases in the sixth and scoring a run against Petricka, Miguel Cabrera popped out weakly to the second baseman, ending what could have been a much bigger inning. The Tigers wouldn't get another run until the eighth, when Victor Martinez drove in his fourth run of the day and gave Detroit a 6-3 lead at the time ... a lead that wouldn't last thanks to Chamberlain.
Victor Martinez: Scored the first two runs for the Tigers. After a sacrifice fly in the first, Martinez hit a two-run home run in the third inning, putting the Tigers ahead 3-1 with his first dinger of the year. He finished 2-for-4, including a double play grounded into, but the Tigers don't take and hold a lead without his monster home run. Martinez then knocked an RBI single to left-center, plating Jose Iglesias, giving Martinez a four-RBI day.
Rajai Davis: Davis hit an opposite field triple in the first, scoring, and later doubled in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Davis grounded into a force, putting runners on the corners and driving in J.D. Martinez. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Alfredo Simon: Couldn't command the strike zone to save his life. Simon passed 80 pitches and allowed three runs before the fourth inning had ended, and failed to record a 1-2-3 inning. While he allowed just five hits, Simon walked four and struck out just two, giving up three runs in his five innings of work.
Home plate umpire Jim Reynolds: Reynolds' call of the game behind home plate was atrocious. Pitches that were clearly not in the strike zone were being called strikes, and Reynolds seemed to be doing nothing more than guessing at pitches on several occasions.
Nick Castellanos: Finished 1-for-5 for the night with three strikeouts, his third three-strikeout game of the 2015 season.
Joba Chamberlain: The bullpen had allowed just two hits and a walk in two innings of work until Chamberlain took the mound in the eighth. After two quick outs on just eight pitches, Chamberlain gave up back-to-back singles before sending a cookie-cutter pitch to White Sox's Melky Cabrera, who clubbed it for a three-run shot. He promptly gave up another single before pitching coach Jeff Jones even paid a visit. In all, Chamberlain gave up six (!) straight hits and four runs before Tigers manager Brad Ausmus pulled him for Hardy.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Rajai Davis' first-inning triple was his second of the season, and the ninth of the year for the Tigers, giving them a tie for second place in MLB, along with the San Francisco Giants. Only the Philadelphia Phillies have more, with 10.
- Davis' two hits marked his fourth multi-hit game of the season, and his first multi-hit game since April 26 against the Cleveland Indians when Davis had a three-hit day.
- Victor Martinez's sacrifice fly in the first inning gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead over the White Sox. It was Martinez's RBI since April 26 against the Indians, breaking an eight-game skid without an RBI. The last time Martinez went eight straight games without an RBI was August 31-Sept. 8, 2013.
- Victor Martinez's two-run home run in the third was his first homer of the 2015 season, and his first since Sept. 25, 2014 against the Minnesota Twins. The home run marked Martinez's fourth career home run against Chris Sale. He is now batting .485 with nine RBI against the lefthander, who joins Mark Buerhrle, Johan Santana, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Silva as being tagged with four home runs by Martinez in his career.
- Miguel Cabrera walked twice in his first two plate appearances Wednesday night, giving him 19 for the season and putting him in second place for the American League lead behind Indians' first baseman Carlos Santana (23).
- J.D. Martinez's walk in the fourth inning marked his first walk since April 27 at Minnesota against the Twins. Martinez walked a total of three times, a career-first. He had walked twice in a game only three times all last season, his last occurring on August 1, 2014 against the Colorado Rockies.
- Ian Kinsler's three walks match a career-high for walks in a game. The last time Kinsler drew a three-walk game was on Sept. 27, 2013 when he was playing with the Texas Rangers and the team faced the Los Angeles Angels.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: