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Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Unlikely pitchers’ duel sets up walk-off

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Mike Mahtook’s single through the middle brings end to Detroit skid

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Nothing lasts forever.

The White Sox’ unbelievable, incredible, spellbinding winning streak that made history and captured the hearts and minds of a nation ended at two games with a walk-off loss to the Tigers.

Rick Renteria tried to nurse a tie game into extra innings in classic September fashion by using five relievers over 2 23 innings, including three in the ninth inning alone. Al Alburquerque recorded both outs, getting a groundout and a flyout around a one-out walk.

Renteria probably didn’t have to go to the bullpen against a lefty like Tyler Collins. However, Collins had homered earlier in the game, so Renteria opted for the matchup advantage for Aaron Bummer, only to see his rookie issue a full-count walk. Then came righty Mikie Mahtook, so Renteria came out for his third reliever. Juan Minaya and Mahtook locked horns into a full count, but Mahtook stayed with a slider and poked it through the middle for a game-winning single.

This kind of stuff happens when you bring a battle-tested closer into a non-save situation.

In terms of the rebuild, this game was fine, a grade that averages Carson Fulmer (great!) and the hitters (10 strikeouts by Anibal Sanchez?). Home plate umpire Chris Segal had a generous strike zone — not unfair, but most borderline pitches went the pitchers’ way, and both starters did a good job of working it. As a result, what looked like a potentially ugly pitching matchup turned out to be a duel.

  • Fulmer: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 64 GScr
  • Sanchez: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 68 GScr

The White Sox scored their only run off Sanchez with an effortless solo shot by Yoan Moncada in the third inning. The Tigers tied it up in the bottom of the fourth by stringing together three singles to start the inning. After a Don Cooper mound visit, Fulmer didn’t let the remaining runners on first and second advance. He induced a flyout, then came back with two strikeouts to minimize the damage.

That was the only inning in which Fulmer labored. He threw 63 of 95 pitches for strikes, and only allowed two baserunners otherwise.

Sanchez didn’t have to work much harder. He threw just 96 pitches while recording those 11 strikeouts, although he had to negotiate a few more baserunners.

The Tigers took the lead after he left, with Collins taking Gregory Infante deep in the seventh. It didn’t last long, as the White Sox manufactured a run in one of the least imposing manners in the top of the eighth. Jose Abreu was hit by a pitch with one out, and Avisail Garcia singled off the glove of Ian Kinsler. Two batters later, Matt Davidson beat the shift with an inside-out 15-hopper through the right side to score Abreu. That kind of moment had been in short supply for Davidson over the last couple months, and it was the only hit for the White Sox over six at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Bullet points:

*Abreu stole his second base of the season.

*The win ended the Tigers’ six-game skid, and ensures that they can’t pass the White Sox in the draft standings by the end of the series.

Record: 59-88 | Box score