The Tigers forced John Danks out of the ballgame two batters into the third inning. Trailing 5-2 against left-handed Drew Smyly at U.S. Cellular Field seemed like too much for the White Sox to overcome.
But the White Sox didn't count themselves out, and thanks to some timely hits with guys on base -- and a 2-0 home run advantage -- they have their most impressive victory of the season.
Zach Stewart picked up the victory in relief, and it's a relief win with teeth. He stranded the two runners he inherited from Danks and threw three scoreless innings for himself, giving the Sox bats enough time to seize control of the game.
Dayan Viciedo started the comeback with a two-run Tank blast to left in the fifth to make it a one-run game. Jim Leyland lifted Smyly in the sixth for Luke Putkonen, and the Sox "put" three more runs on the board (ha) with quite the sustained rally.
With one out, Alex Rios drilled a single back through the middle. Rios them teamed up with Pierzynski for a beautiful hit-and-run to put Sox on the corners, and a four-pitch walk to Alexei Ramirez loaded the bases for Viciedo. Viciedo bounced a single through the middle to drive in two more, and Brent Morel hung with a hanger and lined it over the head of a leaping Jhonny Peralta to make it a 7-5 game.
The Sox bullpen held firm for the rest of the game, although not without drama. Hector Santiago pitched a scoreless seventh despite only throwing a fastball, and despite falling behind 2-0 or worse to three batters (including one four-pitch walk). Matt Thornton endured some of his trademark misfortune by breaking Cabrera's bat for a bloop single, but he got Prince Fielder to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
Likewise, Addison Reed pitched around a one-out baserunner of his own, getting away with a hanger to Brennan Boesch for a flyout, then inducing a bouncer to first off the bat of Alex Avila. Paul Konerko made a nifty backhand pick, then tossed a fadeaway feed to Reed to end the game.
The comeback took Danks off the hook, and he was asking for a loss. After retiring Austin Jackson to start the game, he walked Andy Dirks on four pitches, right ahead of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Cabrera singled back up the middle, and Fielder hit a scorcher of a double over the head of Alejandro De Aza, who broke laterally before realizing he had to go back. That drove in two runs, and Delmon Young followed with a double to the base of the wall in right center, making it 3-0.
Adam Dunn hit his 12th homer of the season to give Danks two runs in the bottom of the first, and Danks almost gave them right back. Third-base umpire Gerry Davis bailed him out. With runners on first and second and two outs, Cabrera hit a shot down the line that spun Davis around. He lost track of the ball, and didn't notice the ball cross over the inside of the bag and land on the chalk behind it. That probably cost the Tigers two runs, as Cabrera hit a flyout to left to end the threat.
They'd get those two runs back in the third. The inning started with single, single, and, after Danks fielded a bunt for a fielder's choice at third, another single to load the bases. Danks walked in a run, and a sac fly restored the Detroit lead to three.Two leadoff singles later, Danks' day was done. But thanks to the effort of his teammates, he'll live to tell about it.
- The Tigers were just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position, and they left 13 on base. The White Sox: 2-for-6, and five.
- Dunn's homer off Smyly was his first off a left-handed pitcher since he took Clayton Kershaw deep twice on Aug. 6, 2010.
- The homer was just Dunn's fourth hit off a lefty in 34 at-bats. It drove in De Aza, whose leadoff single was just his fourth hit off a lefty in 32 at-bats.
- It was a great night for the Cuban Connection. Viciedo drove in a career-high four runs, and Ramirez singled twice, walked once and stole a base.
- Cabrera stole third on Pierzynski, but it was a Lance Johnson Jump off Zach Stewart's negligence and Pierzynski had no shot.