The Chicago White Sox had prime opportunities in the seventh and eighth innings for the go-ahead lead. After failing to get a single run across, Yolmer Sanchez played the hero tonight with a walk-off single as the Sox beat Detroit, 3-2.
For the team's in playoff contention, it's still surprising to see Justin Verlander in a Tigers uniform, and the same can be said about Miguel Gonzalez. Both have been pitching quite well in the second half and could be a difference maker in what is shaping up to be very close races. Tonight, they demonstrated their ability to keep their team in the game as long as they could last.
The scoring started in the first inning when Verlander's fastball missed its target, and Jose Abreu crushed that mistake to left field for his 26th homer of 2017. While it's nothing new to watch Abreu hit a home run off a former Cy Young, but that blast scared Detroit as they would intentionally walk Abreu twice later in the game.
Detroit dealt their damage in the fifth inning. The only batter that seemed to give Gonzalez fits was Victor Martinez, which is also nothing new. V-Mart was 3-for-3 against Gonzalez for the evening, and he started the fifth inning rally with a lead-off single. Alen Hanson played left field for the injured Nicky Delmonico tonight, and his diving catch attempt fell short on Andrew Romine's liner. That resulted in double putting both runners in scoring position with only one out.
With the infield in, Gonzalez attacked Jose Iglesias inside, but the shortstop was able to lift the pitch into no man's land between Hanson and Tim Anderson. Martinez didn't hesitate on the shallow fly ball quickly scoring, and Romine would cross the plate off Hanson's poor throw to home.
Leading 2-1, Verlander ran into trouble in the sixth inning. With another first pitch hit by Abreu, this time a single to right, Verlander's wild pitch allowed Abreu to reach second base. Against Avisail Garcia, Verlander's 97-mph fastball caught too much of the plate and was dumped into center field. Abreu scored to tie the game, and Avi moved to second on Romine's fielding error. With only one out, Verlander struck out Kevin Smith and Anderson to end the threat.
Chicago also missed the go-ahead opportunity in the seventh after Yolmer Sanchez leads off with a single and advanced to second off Omar Narvaez's sacrifice bunt. Adam Engel beat out his slow grounder up the middle for an infield single putting runners on the corners with one out. With Alen Hanson batting, there appeared to be a missed squeeze call as Hanson didn't lay down a bunt on the first pitch and Sanchez had to dive back to third after getting halfway to home. On the next pitch, Hanson popped out to foul territory on a high fastball.
Not able to convert on that attempt, the Sox tried to pull a double steal to get Sanchez home. James McCann made a strong throw to second where Ian Kinsler cut it off and also made a good toss back to McCann nailing Sanchez at home. There was a collision as McCann got caught in the basepath and Sanchez had the right to initiate contact to break the ball away. This crash is coming a day after McCann got hit in the head by Dellin Betances 98-mph fastball.
It was hopeful in the eighth when Tyler Saladino lead it off with a double. Alex Wilson intentionally walked Abreu to put runners on first and second with no outs. Already coming up clutch once tonight, Avi couldn't convert on his second chance as he struck out. Kevin Smith's grounder turned into a 4-6-3 double play ending the threat.
For Detroit, they couldn't generate any more offense against Gonzalez after the fifth inning. Martinez had his third hit to lead off the seventh but was erased when Dixon Machado hit into a 5-4-3 double play. In the eighth, Gonzalez went three up, three down to finish his night with an outstanding line: 8 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 9 K.
Gonzalez wouldn't get the win as that honor was given to Juan Minaya who pitched a scoreless ninth inning. Joe Jimenez entered the game for Detroit sporting a 10.64 ERA in just 11 IP. Hitless entering the final frame, Tim Anderson lead it off with a double down the left field line.
Again, with a runner on second and no outs, it appeared a prime opportunity for manager Rick Renteria to call for a sacrifice bunt. Surprisingly, Yolmer Sanchez swung away at the first two pitches. Down 0-2 in the count, Jimenez threw a low changeup that was barely off the dirt. Somehow, Sanchez golfed the pitch down the right field line. Anderson raced his way to home for the winning run, and Sanchez received a Gatorade bath as Chicago has won four of their last six games.
Record: 51-76 | Box Score