The Tigers won the headlines, but the White Sox took today's game and the series at Comerica Park. You could also call the road trip a victory, as the 5-2 record represents some of their best play of the season. If they were over .500, the lack of trade deadline activity wouldn't be seen as a disappointment.
A bases-loaded plunking of Paul Konerko drove in the decisive run during a seventh inning that was interrupted by the blockbuster acquisition of David Price, and strong work by the bullpen ensured that two insurance runs wouldn't be needed.
Dave Dombrowski's previous get, Joakim Soria, set the tone for a strange inning that started with the score tied at 4. Some Tigers fans greeted Soria with boos as he was announced before the seventh inning, and Soria earned the derision by loading the bases on a dropped third strike, a single and an intentional walk of Jose Abreu.
Pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie popped out to bring up a favorable pitching matchup against Paul Konerko, who entered the game hitting just .155 with a .206 OBP against righties. After throwing sliders for a ball and a strike, Soria tried a fastball and missed well inside, plunking Konerko on the elbow for a painful RBI.
Up came Gordon Beckham, who fell behind 1-2. After Soria bounced a slider in the dirt to even the count, Brad Ausmus came out to talk to home plate umpire Tim Welke with lineup card in hand. Rajai Davis trotted out to center field to let Austin Jackson know he'd been traded to Seattle in the the three-way deal with Tampa Bay for Price, and Jackson returned to the dugout to a standing ovation and hugs from his teammates.
Soria escaped the inning with no further damage, but the Sox posted two runs against Joba Chamberlain the next inning. Moises Sierra led off with a single (his fourth hit of the day), moved to second on a Leury Garcia sac bunt and scored on Adam Eaton's single through the right side. Not content for one insurance run, Eaton stole second, then scored on Alexei Ramirez's double to the left-field corner.
The Sox led 7-4, and they coasted from there. Ronald Belisario (1⅔ innings, one hit), Javy Guerra (1⅓ inning, one walk, four strikeouts) and Jake Petricka (one inning, one "hit" that should've been a Conor Gillaspie error) worked to overshadow an unimpressive five innings by John Danks with scoreless relief the rest of the way. Belisario picked up the win, and Petricka the save.
Danks' named had been involved in a number of medium-heat trade rumors, but he didn't have much curb appeal today. This was the version of Danks Sox fans wouldn't have missed, complete with giving up two runs after the Sox scored three in the top of the second, and surrendering back-to-back homers in the third. The entire game was a fight for him, as he allowed seven hits, four walks and one hit batter over a grueling 105 pitches. He could've suffered a worse fate, but he ended up fighting Drew Smyly to a draw.
He and the other Sox pitchers benefited from strong defense. Ramirez took a run off the board in the first when he fired a perfect strike to Tyler Flowers at home to get Ian Kinsler at the plate. Kinsler went home on contact, and probably didn't expect a throw from Ramirez, who was playing back. Ramirez made a few plays to test his athleticism and third baseman Garcia made a couple of strong snabs to both sides. Even Dayan Viciedo turned an error into an outfield assist when he recovered a booted ball in time to throw out J.D. Martinez at second after his single.
Smyly, who started the game a Tiger and finished the game a Ray, had his own problems. He allowed 11 hits over his five innings, including four consecutive hits to start the second. Gordon Beckham drove in Paul Konerko from first on a double that Martinez couldn't corral in the corner, and Tyler Flowers scored Beckham on a single to center that deflected off Smyly's glove. Adam Eaton drove in a run on a fielder's choice for a 3-0 lead, although Flowers would've been out at the plate easily on the contact play, had Miguel Cabrera looked to home instead of second.
After the Tigers took a 4-3 lead, the Sox struck back. Konerko shot a grounder down the left-field line for a double, then scored on a two-out single by Sierra to tie the game. Sierra had four of the White Sox' 16 hits on the day.
*Abreu extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a first-inning single, added two doubles, then was intentionally walked twice. He's now hitting .305/.356/.636.
*Eaton maintained his hot streak as well, going 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot. Dayan Viciedo (0-for-3, two strikeouts) and Leury Garcia (0-for-4, six stranded) were the only hitless Sox.
*Eaton committed an error in the first inning when he failed to cut off Ian Kinsler's drive to right-center in the first inning. It was ruled a double and a one-base error, but the play by Ramirez erased Kinsler.