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After a four-homer outburst on Saturday, the White Sox offense resumed looking undermanned today.
Led by Blaine Hardy, Tigers pitching retired 19 batters in a row at one point, which was enough to secure the series victory against a game James Shields despite a late uprising.
The Sox made it more interesting than it looked. They had two outs and nobody on against Detroit closer Shane Greene, which was a situation they’d faced since the fourth inning onward. Jose Rondon fell behind 1-2, but battled to even the count before cranking a grooved cutter over the left-field wall to make it a one-run game. (Allow me a moment to congratulate myself for the timing of a rare Rondon post.)
Daniel Palka then nubbed a single 40 feet down the vacated third-base line to put the tying run on base, but Greene recovered to strike out Yoan Moncada to end the game.
Even with that insurrection, the teams combined to play nine innings in two hours and 17 minutes, the fastest White Sox game this season.
Both pitching staffs minimized the number of threats, but the Tigers were able to get the crooked number they needed to take this game in the fifth, when Shields’ command faltered. He started leaving cutters over the plate, and lost the release point on his changeup as well. He started the inning with a leadoff single and a walk, and after getting the first of two infield fly rulings, left another cutter over the plate to Dixon Machado, who turned it into an RBI single. He might’ve been able to limit the damage after the second popout, but he hung a changeup to Nicholas Castellanos, and that turned into an RBI double into the left-field corner.
Shields walked Jeimer Candelario to load the bases for Victor Martinez, but Martinez flied out harmlessly on a challenge fastball to end the inning. That was the start of a fine finish, as Shields retired the last seven batters he faced. The final line was fine for him: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K and on 91 pitches.
The White Sox offense just couldn’t figure out Blaine Hardy, who pitched seven stronger innings. He limited the Sox to just three hits and a walk. Two of the hits were by Yolmer Sanchez, including a triple that followed the lone walk to Tim Anderson and produced the lone Chicago run. Jose Abreu had a chance to give the Sox a lead, but his grounder to first forced Sanchez to hold, and Rondon couldn’t pick him up.
(The Sox almost benefited from #WILDPITCHOFFENSE when the third strike to Rondon got past Grayson Greiner, but Rondon’s follow-through clipped Greiner on the helmet, so was called out due to interference.)
The single tally at least answered the one scored by Detroit the inning before, during which the Tigers also failed to tack on an extra run. Victor Martinez walked, took second on a John Hicks single and scored on a Grayson Greiner double. Hicks moved to third with one out, but Shields defused the situation by surprising Hicks with a pickoff move.
*Matt Davidson missed his fifth straight game.
*The Tigers finally cooled off Abreu, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
*The 6-7-8-9 part of the order went 0-for-13 with five strikeouts, including three from Moncada.
*Omar Narvaez avoided a passed ball, but he did let a strike three from Aaron Bummer get past him in the eighth. Bummer got a double play to get out of the inning.
Record: 16-34 | Box score