Jeff Samardzija didn't throw a perfect game thanks to a Victor Martinez bloop single, but it was the perfect start for the front end of a September doubleheader.
Samardzija snapped his streak of five consecutive ERA-escalating starts by spinning a Maddux, and it wasn't even close. He needed only 88 pitches to throw a shutout, becoming the first White Sox pitcher to throw a shutout with a double-digit pitch count since Chris Sale on May 12, 2013.
More impressively, he came within one pitch of tying Jerry Reuss for the most efficient shutout in the pitch count era. Reuss threw a four-hitter on 87 pitches against Milwaukee on May 1, 1989. Record or not, the result is the same: a fully rested bullpen for the nightcap, and an easier-to-reject qualifying offer.
Kyle Ryan was almost as impressive for Detroit, but he couldn't retire Carlos Sanchez, and that made the difference. Sanchez went 3-for-3 and scored both Chicago runs. He notched the Sox' first hit with a two-out double in the third, then scored on Adam Eaton's single despite right fielder Steven Moya's best effort. Sanchez was initially ruled out on the play at the plate, but the replay showed that his hand swept across the plate before catcher Bryan Holaday applied the tag.
Sanchez's next trip across the plate was easier, as he hit a line shot out to right for his fifth homer, and first as a right-handed hitter, to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. He added an infield single in the eighth.
Samardzija didn't need the cushion, because Detroit had no such Sanchez. Smarch breezed through the normally arduous first inning with a pair of strikeouts, and was never challenged. Martinez broke up the perfecto by muscling a single to shallow left to lead off the fifth, but he couldn't even get into scoring position, as Samardzija ended the inning with a deep flyout, fielder's choice and flyout.
The Tigers did hit a couple of fly balls well to the right side, but they couldn't beat the wind. Avisail Garcia caught the aforementioned deep drive on the warning track in the fifth, and Eaton had to retreat to the track to flag down J.D. Martinez's fly to right center in the seventh. Otherwise, the only well-struck balls went foul, and the defense didn't even have to make any highlight-reel plays behind Samardzija, who used his slider and elevated fastball to great effect.
*The White Sox outhit the Tigers 8-1, but Eaton's RBI single was the only at-bat with runner(s) in scoring position. Four of those baserunners were erased via three Trayce Thompson double plays and an unsuccessful steal attempt by Eaton.
*Thompson became the first White Sox hitter to ground into three double plays since A.J. Pierzynski on Aug. 9, 2008.
Record: 71-78 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights