Detroit Tigers backup catcher bunt in Austin Jackson in the top of the ninth, defeat White Sox 4-3


Apr 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher

Bryan Holaday

(50) drives in a run with a bun single against the Chicago White Sox in the eighth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The man who wasn’t supposed to play tonight became the hero as the Detroit Tigers fought off the rain and defeated the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field 4-3. Catcher Bryan Holaday was a late addition to the lineup by Brad Ausmus after Alex Avila experienced back spasms before the game.

Avila was available to pinch hit, though, but Holaday did his job for the full nine innings on Tuesday night.  Austin Jackson reached after White Sox right fielder Dayan Viciedo misplayed the ball and Jackson went to third with just one out.  After a Nick Castellanos strikeout, Holaday came up as the last hope for the Tigers.

With the count at 1-1, White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario threw a third straight sinker that Holaday crouched and bunted the ball down the third base line, just far enough for Belisario to throw it off balance to first base and pull Jose Abreu off the bag. Holaday’s RBI bunt single that scored Jackson ended up as the game-winning  run in top of the ninth inning.

Holaday provided the Tigers with a great night offensively in the absence of Avila.  The backup catcher went 2-for-4 with one RBI in his first start in the past five days.

Justin Verlander had a hiccup in the third inning but otherwise was the same old Verlander.  The former AL MVP cruised through seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four.  He also went over the 100-pitch mark once again, this time extending to 113 to finish the seventh inning.

The White Sox got to Verlander the second time around the order as leadoff hitter Adam Eaton roped a line drive double that plated Marcus Semien in the third inning.  Up next was second baseman Gordon Beckham, who singled in Eaton from second base.

White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn showed off his extra base power with a double off Verlander later in the third inning that brought home Beckham from second base.

After cruising through 5 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out eight, White Sox starter Jose Quintana‘s fatigue began to set in.  The Tigers put together a two-out rally starting with Miguel Cabrera‘s single.  Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson would follow with singles of their own to tie the game at 3-3 through six innings of play.

Quintana has now allowed three runs or less in five of his six starts in 2014.  In his last start, which was also against the Tigers, the left-hander allowed three runs over six innings as well, but this time, he was able to strike out 10 batters that strolled to the plate.

Cabrera and Martinez were also the other Tigers who had multi-hit nights, joining Holaday going 2-for-4 with a couple of singles.  The Tigers were able to score four runs despite not being able to pick up an extra base hit all night.

The bullpen for the Tigers also threw two scoreless innings, one from Joba Chamberlain and another from Joe Nathan.  Nathan went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, but Chamberlain put a scare in Tigers fans after he allowed two to reach base before getting out of the jam.

The Tigers (13-9) will finish the short two-game series in Chicago tomorrow as the take on the White Sox (14-14) at U.S. Cellular Field.  Max Scherzer will take the mound for the AL Central division-leading Tigers, and the White Sox will throw right-hander Hector Noesi, who is scheduled to make his first start of the 2014 season.