Offense was in short supply for both the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox until the Sox broke it open in the top of the seventh inning against Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers fell in the season opener with Chicago by a score of 3-1. Sanchez sailed, with very little trouble and traffic on the bases, through the first six innings, giving up only one hit and one base on balls, and looking every bit the ace he has proven to be, entering the seventh. Doubles by Conor Gillaspie, Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo, a single by Alexei Ramirez, a throwing error by Rajai Davis, and an overturned out-at-home call combined to chase Sanchez from the mound with one out in the seventh. Sanchez finished with six and a third innings pitched, five hits, three runs, one walk and five strike outs. Ian Krol relieved Sanchez and while he did not allow his inherited runner to cross home plate, he did get called on a balk and he also hit Alejandro DeAza in the arm, though it should be noted that DeAza did absolutely nothing to get out of the way of the pitch. The play of the inning came from Miguel Cabrera, who tracked down a straying pop foul, made an over the shoulder catch for the second out with runners on the corners, then gunned the ball home to hold Ramirez, who was poised to tag up and run, at third base.
Evan Reed pitched the eighth inning and continued to look strong, his pitches consistently reaching 96mph and getting all the way up to 98. He retired the side in order and struck out Gillaspie. Reed was back out to start the ninth and struck out Tiger fan favorite, Adam Dunn, for the third time tonight. Justin Miller was called upon to finish out the ninth inning, which he did by retiring Viciedo and Ramirez. Miller looked sharp again, as he did Friday night against the Angels.
The Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning after a lead off single by Torii Hunter and walks from Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos. Alex Avila hit a weak grounder to second, which looked to be a double play ball initially, but ended up scoring Hunter. Andrew Romine and Davis both followed with shallow pop outs and left two men stranded.
There was another scoring opportunity for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh, with singles from Romine and Davis and one out, but Ian Kinsler grounded into a double play, in one of his more human moments of the season.
In the bottom of the ninth, after a groundout from Castellanos, Avila drilled a ground rule double to center and new call-up, J.D. Martinez had an excellent at bat that resulted in a walk. Davis flied out to left, but not deep enough to advance the runners and with the tying runs on first and second base, Kinsler grounded out to shortstop to end the possible rally and the game.
The Tigers take on the White Sox again tomorrow night at 7:08pm at Comerica Park.