Based on the pitchers Robin Ventura used against the biggest part of the order, he didn't think the White Sox had much of a chance of coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Brian Omogrosso came in with two outs in the sixth against Miguel Cabrera and gave up a single. That put two men on with Prince Fielder coming to the plate, so Ventura countered with his third lefty, Leyson Septimo. Septimo hung one, and Fielder deposited it into the Detroit bullpen to open the lead to 6-1.
There were a couple problems with those choices. For one, the White Sox offense wasn't done. They came to life in the eighth inning with four runs, including three on Kevin Youkilis' second homer of the night.
The other issue was that the better options were available. Donnie Veal, Ventura's second lefty, eventally pitched to Fielder with nobody on base and the Sox trailing by three (the Sox scored four runs in the eighth to narrow the lead to 8-5. He lured Fielder into a routine flyout. Brett Myers replaced Veal to pitch to the final two batters, also in a lower-leverage situation.
The Sox put up enough of the fight to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but it was in the form of Orlando Hudson. Despite a bevy of better power options on the bench, Hudson hit for himself, and struck out looking.
Ultimately, though, the Tigers shifted the goal posts just far enough by taking advantage of the strange succession of pitchers. It's hard to understand why Ventura didn't treat the middle innings a little more seriously, because the Sox had an opening. Sure, it wasn't coming against Max Scherzer, but the Sox at least made him work. Scherzer threw 100 pitches after five innings, which means Ventura could have planned for at least three innings of the Detroit bullpen if the Sox could keep it close enough. They didn't, and now their lead is down to one game with Justin Verlander pitching in the finale.
The best news out of the day is that Gavin Floyd looked OK. He started with four scoreless innings (striking out seven), but his command dulled throughout the fifth. After Austin Jackson gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead with a single through the left side, Ventura went to Hector Santiago. Floyd had only thrown 69 pitches, but given it was his first real start in a month, it's hard to know how much Floyd had in the tank. Santiago made it a problem when he walked Andy Dirks to bring Cabrera to the plate, and Cabrera pulled off some crafty inside-out hitting on a good screwball to stretch the lead to 3-1.
- Hudson turned a creative double play in the seventh, prior to the Omogrosso/Septimo swaps. He was running to the bag to cover second on a hit-and-run when Austin Jackson hit a grounder in his path. It took a weird hop, though, and he put his body in front of it to control it. After corralling the ball on one knee, he reached and tagged second with the ball, and then fired a throw to first for an impressive 4-3 double play.
- Youkilis broke out of a 1-for-32 slump against the Tigers in a White Sox uniform with a pair of homers. But he couldn't get his body in front of a hard Brennan Boesch grounder a step to his left, instead hitting the ground immediately and trying to play the ball to the side. It got past him, setting up Detroit's three-run fifth.