Save one offensive outburst in the top of the fourth inning by the Detroit Tigers and we had a relatively ho-hum pitchers duel on our hands on Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in dreary Chicago.
Max Scherzer was his usual brilliant self. He didn’t pitch super deep into this one, but did give the club six excellent innings with seven strikeouts, three walks, four hits, and no runs allowed. He faced the fire a few times — a two-out double in the first inning, runners on the corners with two out in the third, two on with one out in the fourth, and a one-out double in the sixth — but was able to escape trouble each time.
In fact, it was the times where Max’s toes touched the flames that he pitched his best. The Chicago White Sox had five plate appearances versus Scherzer with two men on base. In those five trips to the plate, they struck out four times and grounded out once.
White Sox starter Hector Noesi — who’s already on his third team this season — allowed a bloop leadoff single to Ian Kinsler before buckling down and retiring the next nine Detroit Hitters in order. It was looking like “one of those days” where a no-name pitcher baffles Tigers hitters, but the bats broke out in the fourth inning to secure a lead.
A deep double by Torii Hunter followed by a base hit by Miguel Cabrera put men on the corners with nobody out, and then Hunter scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Victor Martinez. J.D. Martinez pushed Cabrera to third with a deep double of his own, and Austin Jackson loaded the bases by drawing a walk. Nick Castellanos stepped to the plate with grand slam aspirations, but his deep fly ball died on the warning track — good enough for another run on a sac fly. Bryan Holaday finished things up with a two-run double to give the Tigers a four-spot for the inning.
They would go on to add an insurance run in the ninth inning — Victor Martinez drew a bases loaded walk with two outs — but the insurance wouldn’t be necessary. Evan Reed pitched the ninth and allowed one run, but it was no harm, no foul as he went on to finish out the game.