The afternoon started well for the Detroit Tigers. A sunny day, temperature in the 70’s, and a 1-0 lead after one inning. Then the White Sox’ artillery opened fire.
Rajai Davis led with a bloop double down the right field line off of White Sox starter Chris Sale. After an Ian Kinsler strikeout birthday boy Miguel Cabrera cashed in a nine-pitch at-bat with a line single to center. Davis scored easily and Cabrera took second on an error when the throw home skipped past catcher Tyler Flowers. The Tigers failed to press that advantage though. They forced Sale to use 28 pitches but could only scratch across the one run.
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In the meantime it appeared that starter Anibal Sanchez was ready to mow through the White Sox. He used 30 pitches in his first turn through the lineup, throwing 24 strikes. That story took a dark turn in the top of the third.
With one out, Adam Eaton walked and stole second. Melky Cabrera followed with a double to right field to score Eaton and tie the game at one. Jose Abreu singled on a short pop that fell just in front of a diving Davis, sending Cabrera to third. Adam LaRoche finished the scoring that inning with a three-run home run to stake Chicago to a 4-1 lead.
The bottom completely dropped out for the Tigers in the fourth inning. Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers struck for back-to-back doubles to put runners on second and third. Micah Johnson followed with a seven-pitch walk to load the bases.
After an Eaton strikeout Cabrera singled to right field to drive in Ramirez and make the score 5-1. Abreu came up next and dropped the bomb, a grand slam to left-center field to extend Chicago’s lead to 9-1.
Blaine Hardy came in to relieve Sanchez and got into immediate trouble himself. Three straight singles put Chicago ahead 10-1. A Ramirez sacrifice fly gave them an 11-1 lead going into the bottom-of-the-fourth.
By that time Sale had settled down and was breezing through the Tigers lineup. He surrendered a home run to J.D. Martinez to make the score 11-2 but overall recovered from his rough first inning to only give up four hits and strike out six in six innings of work.
The Tigers needed to go deep into their bullpen for the first time in four games and got solid performances from Angel Nesbitt, Tom Gorzelanny, Al Alburquerque and Joba Chamberlain to finish the the final four innings.