Wily Peralta had one of his worst outings of the season, and the Tigers took a beating on Friday night as the White Sox took game one by a score of 8-1.
Facing a tough test in right-hander Lance Lynn, the Tigers quickly went in order in the first. Wily Peralta battled his command through a long, tough bottom half of the inning, giving up a leadoff double to Tim Anderson—which seems to come with every game against the White Sox—and ultimately issuing a pair of two-out walks to load the bases. Chris Fetter came out for a chat and Peralta quickly dispatched Yoan Moncada on a pop out to third base. Two very different half innings, but the same result, other than the fact that Peralta needed 25 pitches.
Things went much the same in the second, as the Tigers again went down quickly, while Peralta got two outs, but then hit Cesar Hernandez—no word yet on whether Tony La Russa will demand a grand jury on that one—and gave up a solid single to Anderson to put runners on first and third. Fortunately, Luis Robert’s drive toward the right field corner was hauled in by Daz Cameron to turn the South Siders away again.
The third started with a little more promise. Niko Goodrum led off with a single, while Daz Cameron worked his way into a full count against Lynn. Goodrum took off on the 3-2 and Cameron not only struck out, but also interfered with Yasmani Grandal as he threw down to second. Both men were out, and Willi Castro offered a little bliner to Anderson at shortstop for the third out.
Jose Abreu led off the bottom half by jumping on a hanging slider and crushing it out to left for his 30th home run. Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jimenez pounced on fastballs for singles and the Tigers were in trouble. Peralta bounced back though, punching out Yoan Moncada with a steady dose of offspeed. Leury Garcia grounded sharply to Castro at second, and he and Goodrum turned it over quickly to double up the speedy outfielder and turn the Sox away.
Akil Baddoo got the Tigers going in the top of the fourth. He battled through a long AB, fouling off some tough pitches on the outer edge before flaring a single to left. He went first move against Lynn on his first pitch to Robbie Grossman and easily stole second base. Grossman doubled into the right field corner, and the Tigers had tied things up. A passed ball moved Grossman to third with no outs, but the Tigers went in order from there to waste the opportunity.
In the fourth the wheels started to come off for Peralta. Gavin Sheets led off with a single, and then Cesar Hernandez was safe on a throwing error by Schoop, with both runners advancing 90 feet. Anderson followed with a single to score Sheets and then took second, barely evading a Goodrum tag as Anderson slipped off the bag. Luis Robert lifted a deep fly ball, and Hernandez tagged and scored. At that point, with one out, A.J. Hinch pulled the infield in, and Peralta got Abreu to ground out to Goodrum, but Anderson’s secondary lead and speed were too much and he raced home ahead of the tag. It was now 4-1, and the Tigers held a little conference at the mound to get it together. Peralta pitched Grandal carefully and walked him on four pitches, and fortunately, Eloy Jimenez grounded to Harold Castro and third who turned the double play around the horn to escape further trouble.
Finally in the fifth we got a quick inning. The Tigers got a leadoff walk from Eric Haase, but Goodrum grounded into a double play. Cameron singled, but Willi Castro flew out to left. Peralta needed a shutdown inning and got it, turning in his second 1-2-3 inning of the night in the bottom half.
With the White Sox prepping for the postseason, Lynn’s day was done after five, and hard-throwing lefty Garrett Crochet took over to start the sixth. Baddoo struck out, but Grossman walked and Schoop singled to set up Miguel Cabrera. The two then pulled off the double steal on Crochet, and all the Tigers needed was a fly ball to score a run. They didn’t get it, as Cabrera struck out on a foul tip, and Harold Castro grounded out to end the inning.
Wily Peralta, despite a rough outing, was still at 84 pitches and Hinch sent him back out to try to preserve a banged up bullpen. Peralta struck out Hernandez on three pitches. Leaving Peralta in to face the top of the order, however, didn’t seem like a great idea and Anderson singled on an 0-2 splitter that Peralta failed to bury. Robert hit one sharply, but straight to Cameron in right field. That left it up to Abreu again, and he doubled to center field and Anderson cruised around all the way from first to score. Yasmani Grandal grounded out to end the inning, but it was now 5-1 White Sox.
That would be the end of the night and the season for Peralta. While this wasn’t one of his better efforts, it’s been an absolutely remarkable comeback season for him after his career looked to be about over in recent years.
If Wily Peralta had retired Jose Abreu, he would have ended the 2021 season with a 2.99 ERA.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) October 2, 2021
But Abreu rapped a double to the gap.
Peralta will finish with a 3.07 ERA in 93 2/3 innings. Which is still pretty incredible.
The Sox turned to Ryan Tepera with a four-run lead to open the seventh. Eric Haase greeted him with a solid single to left, but Goodrum grounded into his second double play on the night. Cameron put together a nice AB, fighting off some tough pitches to draw a two-out walk. Willi Castro followed with a single, with Cameron going first to third, and then Castro stole second on defensive indifference. Tepera didn’t throw a strike to Baddoo, walking the bases loaded. Grossman worked into a 2-1 count, got the fastball he wanted, but could only lift a routine fly ball to center field that ended the inning.
Having missed that opportunity, things were not looking good. Hinch turned to Bryan Garcia in the bottom of the seventh. He struck out Jimenez, but after getting ahead 0-2 to Moncada, he left a sinker up on the outer edge and Moncada went with it, lining it to left for a double. the meltdown followed from there. Leury Garcia doubled into the left field corner, with Moncada held at third as the ball bounced into the stands. It mattered little. Sheets dumped a single into center, and Hernandez followed with a line single to center and the Sox lead was now 7-1.
Garcia walked Tim Anderson to load the bases, still with only one out recorded. He did bounce back to freeze Robert with a sinker that was perhaps mercifully called a strike at the very bottom of the zone. That left Abreu, with your faithful recapper putting on his ear protection in anticipation. Garcia too appeared to be avoiding loud noises. He spotted strike one, but walked Abreu on four straight from there to force in another run, and finally Hinch came out to get him, turning things over to Ian Krol, who struck out Grandal to finally end the nightmare inning.
That’s about all there is to report. The White Sox turned to Craig Kimbrel in the eighth, and Liam Hendricks in the ninth, and both were on their game. Only Harold Castro managed to put a ball in play out of the last six Tigers hitters.