Just like the game on Wednesday at Cleveland, this felt like a game in which the White Sox didn't deserve to win. Largely thanks to the outstanding pitching performance from Jeff Samardzija and the defense of Gordon Beckham, the Sox were in it to the very end.
Jeff Samardzija fended off the Tigers high-octane offense from the very beginning. With a runner on first, Miguel Cabrera crushed a 95 mph fastball to left field. If the game was played in Chicago, it would have been a two-run home run. Instead, in the vast openess of Comerica Park, it bounced off the wall for Cabrera's fourth double of the year, setting up runners on second and third. J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes couldn't get the job done, and the Sox were lucky enough to leave the 1st inning unscathed.
The third inning was Gordon Beckham's time to shine. Thanks to an Emilio Bonifacio fielding error, the Tigers were in prime position with runners on the corners and no outs. Samardzija was able to get induce a ground ball from Ian Kinsler down the third-base line, and Beckham was able to throw out Rajai Davis at home. Beckham followed that up by snagging Miguel Cabrera's rocket and starting a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The only mistake that hurt Samardzija was Cespedes crushing a 2-1 slider to left field for his first home run as a Tiger. In eight innings of work, Samardzija allowed the one earned run and eight hits while striking out seven, resulting in his best start as a White Sox by far. Unfortunately, just like during his days with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, he just didn't get enough run support.
While the White Sox offense is struggling, it's hard to imagine mustering a lot of runs against one of the premier pitchers in baseball. Price is en fuego to start 2015. After today's performance, Price in 22 1/3 innings pitched has only allowed one earned run and 13 hits along with a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Adding to the heartbreak is how the game ended. In the bottom of the ninth, Nick Castellanos hit a line drive to right field off the first pitch from Reliever, Zach Duke. Garcia made a throw to second base that seemed to be in time for Alexei Ramirez to apply the tag. Castellanos was called safe on the field, but with such a close play at the bag in the most crucial part of the game, manager Robin Ventura opted to not challenge the call. After a sacrifice bunt, Jose Iglesias singled to shallow right field plating Austin Romine for the 2-1 win.
This is the reason why Ventura didn't challenge the call:
Robin Ventura says call from White Sox video crew was that Ramirez did not make the tag, so he went without challenging.— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) April 17, 2015
Only nine games into 2015, and the White Sox are already 5.5 games behind the Tigers. Hopefully starting tomorrow, regression kicks in for Detroit as Chris Sale takes the mound.