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White Sox 5, Tigers 2: Big inning found at home

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Four-run third enough for Jeff Samardzija as key homestand gets off to good start

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The White Sox set a New Comiskey/U.S. Cellular Field Era record by failing to homer in their ninth straight game, but while they couldn't come up with the long ball, Conor Gillaspie did find a way to deliver the big hit.

The Sox had just taken a 3-2 lead in the third inning when Gillaspie came to the plate, but they scored those runs in their usual painstaking fashion -- an RBI single off the glove of the shortstop in the first, and a bases-loaded walk and fielder's choice in the third. They had Shane Greene on the ropes, but they couldn't quite land that knockout punch.

GIllaspie figured it out, beating the shift by smoking a liner to the right-center gap for a two-run triple. That gave the Sox a 5-2 lead, and that's where the score stayed thanks a trade-worthy start by Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija had to overcome an inauspicious beginning, though. Anthony Gose singled on the game's first pitch, stole second, took third on Geovany Soto's bad throw, and scored on Ian Kinsler's single. The Tigers only needed four pitches to take a lead.

The Sox tied it up when Adam Eaton doubled, and after a Melky Cabrera walk, came around to score on Jose Abreu's grounder off the glove of Andrew Romine. But the Tigers regained the lead in the top of the second when Cabrera's attempt to rob Alex Avila of a two-out opposite-field homer ended with the ball going in and out of his glove, and into the White Sox bullpen.

An error by Alexei Ramirez extended the inning, and Micah Johnson nearly committed another one when he flipped wide to Ramirez on a force play at second, but Ramirez somehow dragged his toe on the base for the third out. (That counts as a play with his hands.)

Johnson started the bottom of the third by beating Greene to the bag on a bounce to the right side. He then took second on Adam Eaton's groundout (which would've been a single if Johnson hadn't been in motion). Cabrera drew another walk, as did Abreu, and then LaRoche to tie the game.

Yet after three straight walks, Avisail Garcia swung at the first pitch. Fortunately, he was jammed enough for the play to develop slowly, and the double play wasn't an option. That gave the Sox the lead, and two pitches later, Internet Favorite Gillaspie turned on a 1-0 slider for the decisive blow.

Samardzija held the Tigers in check from there, including a big three-pitch strikeout of Miguel Cabrera when he represented the tying run in the fifth.

Yet he saved his toughest pitching for last. Coming up on 100 pitches and the fourth time through the Detroit order with one out and two on in the seventh, he rebuffed Robin Ventura on a mound visit. It looked smart when he struck out Gose. It smarted when Kinsler smoked a line drive back to mound for a direct hit on Samardzija's arm, but he found the ball toward the third-base line and made a good throw in time to end the threat.

Zach Duke pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and David Robertson pitched around one of those indefensible Johnson errors for his fourth save.

Bullet points:

*The Sox are now 7-3 at home, and 2-11 away from U.S. Cellular Field. They're 1-0 wearing the 1983 look.

*They also won the strike zone, walking five times to just three strikeouts. Sox pitching, on the other hand, issued just one walk to eight strikeouts.

*Sox pitching also held Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to an 0-for-12 night, including four strikeouts and a double play.

*Gillaspie was caught stealing during the second-inning SHOTHO, and is now 0-for-6 in his career. The Sox were better off staying put tonight.

Record: 9-14 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights