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Tigers 8, White Sox 4: Long leash, then wrong guy

Familiar mistakes by Robin Ventura cement Sox in standings

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This game effectively buries the White Sox. Granted, they were out of it before, but an encouraging homestand and a three-game series against a direct competitor gave them the slightest sense of control. Sweep the series, and they’d be .500 and 3½ games behind Detroit. Winning two wouldn’t have accomplished much, but at least they’d still have that sense of momentum, plodding as it may be.

Dropping the first two of this one, though? Good luck. And the already wispy dream dissipated in the most Robin Ventura way possible — leaving a starter out longer than he had earned (Anthony Ranaudo), and then bringing in Matt Albers to finish the loss.

The Sox led this one 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, but Ranaudo gave up a two-run shot to Ian Kinsler, which is the kind of thing that happens. Five innings of two-run ball from Ranaudo is still a victory of sorts, and going any further is incredibly hazardous. After all, Kinsler, Detroit’s leadoff man, was the first Tiger to face Ranaudo for a third time tonight, and he picked up a theme that had been quite evident in Ranaudo’s young White Sox career:

  • First time through: .174/.259/.391
  • Second time through: .200/.259/.440
  • Third time through: .429/.471/.857

After the homer, Tyler Collins and Miguel Cabrera also singled to bring Victor Martinez to the plate. That would’ve been a good time to pull Ranaudo, but Martinez popped out to end the inning.

Through five innings, Ranaudo had thrown 92 pitches and started getting beat. So of course Ventura had him start the sixth, and J.D. Martinez greeted him with a leadoff double. That’s when Ventura decided Ranaudo had done enough, and after making the job harder for the weakest part of his bullpen, he picked Albers, the guy least capable of getting the strikeout the Sox could’ve really used. Say it with me, everybody...

That's So Robin

Sure enough, Albers allowed the tying run to score on the first batter, with Justin Upton lining a single to center. Then Albers walked Jarrod Saltamacchia before giving up JaCoby Jones’ first MLB hit, which went for a go-ahead double to right field.

Albers did retire one batter — Jose Iglesias on a groundout — before giving way to Jacob Turner, who inflated Albers’ ERA further by giving up a two-run single to Ian Kinsler, which gave the Tigers a 6-3 lead.

That’s pretty much the story of this game. The Sox offense fared surprisingly well against Daniel Norris considering they entered the game 1-for-31 against him lifetime, with Todd Frazier crushing his 33rd homer to left for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Adam Eaton added an RBI groundout following an Omar Narvaez walk and a Tyler Saladino double.

They left more runs on the table, though. In the fourth, an Avisail Garcia single and a Narvaez double put runners on second and third, but Tyler Saladino couldn’t get the run home with his lineout to right, and, after an Eaton walk, Tim Anderson grounded out to leave them loaded.

The seventh inning, same thing. Eaton led off with a hustle double, then took third on Anderson’s single. Melky Cabrera brought home one with a groundout, but Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau whiffed, stranding the tying runs on base. Turner then gave up a no-doubt blast to J.D. Martinez to start the seventh, and the Sox never challenged again.

Bullet points:

*Anderson’s non-RBI single was the only hit for the Sox in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He went 1-for-5 with six stranded, along with a double error, so it wasn’t his best game.

*Some handsome ERAs in the box score: Ranaudo with 8.76, Albers at 6.19, and Turner at 7.71.

Record: 63-68 | Box score | Highlights