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Tigers 5, White Sox 3 (11 innings): Bullpen again decides marquee matchup

Game gets away from Chris Beck in extras after Chris Sale and Justin Verlander leave with a 2-2 game

This Chris Sale-Justin Verlander matchup was pretty much a rerun of the one from last Wednesday, in that Sale pitched eight while Verlander lasted seven, but the game went to the ninth tied at 2 all the same.

This one also ended in a White Sox loss, but it took a little longer to get there. Last Wednesday, David Robertson lost the game in the ninth. This time, Robertson did his job, as did Nate Jones before him, but Chris Beck unraveled with a pair by walking Detroit’s Martinezes and giving up a resounding opposite-field three-run homer to Justin Upton, all with two outs.

The White Sox rallied in the bottom of the 11th, with Avisail Garcia knocking in Todd Frazier (who walked), bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Tyler Saladino. Saladino battled Francisco Rodriguez to a full count, but was frozen by the final pitch, perhaps because it was off the plate inside.

Another variation: Sale was the one to fall behind early, and Verlander was the one to lose the lead in his final inning.

Sale gave up both of his runs over the first three innings, both in the form of Miguel Cabrera solo shots (one to right, one to left). He calmed down to retire 15 of 17, but when Cabrera singled off him with two outs in the eighth (making him 4-for-4) and took second on an Adam Eaton error, it forced Sale into a similar position as Wednesday — at 118 pitches, and with longtime nemesis Victor Martinez at the plate.

Those are the ingredients for another one-batter-too-long special, but Robin Ventura won't have to hear about it this time. Sale started with a slider, and Martinez was ready for it, but his sharp grounder to the right side was right at Saladino, who stayed down on it and flipped to first to close out the eighth.

Alas, that only kept the game tied. The Sox never led in this game. The best they could do was tie it up against Verlander after trailing 2-0.

Garcia and Saladino combined for a quick run in the third, with the former doubling to start the inning and the latter coming through with an RBI single. The score stayed 2-1 until the seventh, when, like Wednesday, Alex Avila took his former batterymate deep to left, knotting the game at 2.

This time, Sale won the game score matchup, if not the game:

  • Sale: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 66 GScr
  • Verlander: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 63 GScr

After Verlander exited, the White Sox never really threatened with a walk-off scenario. Their closest call in the 10th didn’t even result in a runner in scoring position, as Tim Anderson’s one-out single was followed by a fielder’s choice and a strikeout.

Record: 65-72 | Box score | Highlights