Miguel Cabrera couldn't check his swing on a Chris Sale slider that hit him, then triggered a hasty ejection on the next pitch. Three batters into the game, a bizarre development set a weird night in motion.
He looked off from the get-go, allowing a single to Alejandro De Aza and walking Alexei Ramirez to start the game. He retired the next two batters, but he left a 2-2 fastball up to Paul Konerko, who shoved it out to shallow center for a two-run single.
Just when it looked like Scherzer settled down, the game caved in on him. He started the fourth by striking out Adam Dunn and getting Konerko to ground out. By the time he got the third out, three more runs scored. Conor Gillaspie doubled, and Dayan Viciedo muscled a ball between Prince Fielder and the first base line for an RBI single.
Jordan Danks kept the inning alive by first-and-thirding Viciedo on a single to right. That brought Josh Phegley to the plate. Scherzer threw a slider that Phegley chased off the plate, and his swing resulted in a perfectly placed nubber down the third-base line. Scherzer should've put it in his pocket -- or waited to see if it would hit the dirt and spin foul -- but not wanting the run to score, he chucked the ball to first in desperation.
It wasn't close. The ball bounced into foul territory along the wall in right, and Danks scored all the way from first to give the Sox a 5-1 lead.
Scherzer's final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 56 of 90 pitches for strikes.
Sale had a far easier night: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 78 of 114 pitches for strikes.
He made easy work of the Tigers, though the absence of Cabrera made life a little easier. The strikeouts took a little while to show up -- he didn't record his first K until the final out of the third -- but he ended up with eight of them, giving him 207 on the season, and putting him within eight of the modern-day White Sox record (215 by Gary Peters in 1967).
The Tigers only had one at-bat with a runner in scoring position, and Sale made it 0-for-1 by striking out Ramon Santiago. For the second time on the night, a Tiger couldn't check his swing on a slider that hit him.
Sale made few mistakes, and he only paid for one of them, when Victor Martinez hit a solo shot with one out in the seventh inning. Sale got ahead of Martinez with two fastballs, but a third baseball was neither in nor up enough, and Martinez got his hands in and sent it over the wall in left.
But Sale came back with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth, and the bullpen didn't let Sale down in the ninth. Nate Jones retired the side in order, starting with a strikeout of Torii Hunter that was 100 mph on the outside corner.