When the Opening Day fireworks burned off, the snow began to swirl.
When the snow slowed, bitter cool seeped in.
And by the end of the game, there was plenty of both, snow and cold.
It was a second successive Chicago White Sox opener played in football weather, and decided by a football score. This time around, however, that score was not in the Good Guys’s favor.
White Sox relievers Greg Infante and Aaron Bummer were helpless to stave off the dreaded single-walk-sac fly-fielder’s choice-single offense, letting two Detroit Tigers score in the top of the 10th, resulting in a 9-7 White Sox loss in Chicago’s home opener.
In the ninth, Detroit changed its tactics from station-to-station baseball (a dozen singles, to that point) and rode extra-base hits to tie the game up.
With default closer Joakim Soria entering with bases clean for the ninth and a 7-4 lead, Detroit scored three off of the default closer to tie. Even more heartbreaking — or frostbite-burn inducing — Soria was within a strike of the win.
With two out, a runner at first and a full count on substitute first baseman Niko Goodrum, Soria served up a laser-beam home run to right, drawing Detroit to within 7-6. Hang that on Soria. What wasn’t Soria’s fault was the game-tying double from Victor Martinez, which left fielder Leury Garcia misplayed and let roll to the wall.
Fighting the elements as much as the Detroit Tigers, the White Sox bats would not be frozen early, as they tapped out 10 hits and stormed to a 7-3 lead.
Much earlier in the day, with the White Sox seemingly toying with the Tigers, Yolmer Sanchez was the offensive hero, with two triples and three RBI. The third baseman went 3-for-3 from the left side to begin the contest. It was the first time since Pat Kelly in 1972 that a White Sox player had two triples in a home opener.
OBP machines Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson were also spectacular early. Davidson started 2-for-2 with two walks, scoring four times and missing a home run to right (hit into the teeth of a heavy wind) by about a foot in the fifth inning. Anderson likewise walked twice as part of a 1-for-2 start. In the second, Anderson manufactured a run with a stolen base after a single, moving to third on a Omar Narvaez ground out, and sliding home with Chicago’s third run by tagging on Adam Engel’s shallow fly to center.
James Shields muscled through five innings, giving up eight hits, three earned runs, a walk and his first strikeout in 11 innings this season. Shields, with another sub-50 game score (44), is carrying a 5.73 ERA — but came thisclose to pocketing his second win.
The Tigers completed their comeback in spite of losing Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. Cabrera took an awkward spill at first base, reducing a sharp, no-brainer double into a single after falling flat on his face. Cabrera, who battled injuries in the first truly poor season of his career in 2017, was limping after the spill and exited after the inning with left hip flexor tightness.
Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann was shellacked by the Sox, coughing up nine hits and six earned in just 4 1⁄3 innings, getting knocked out of the box with a 31 game score.
Dixon Machado had a tidy day for Detroit, going 2-for-4 with two doubles. Those two-baggers were the only extra-base hits for the Tigers on the day — until the ninth.
Who is to blame for the White Sox’s home opener loss?
This poll is closed
Brett Ballantini (ending his liveblog gamethread updates at around 5:15 p.m./6th inning)
Leury Garcia (misplaying a single into a game-tying double in the 9th)
Greg Infante (0.1 IP in the 10th, 1 H, 2 ER, walking a guy trying to sac bunt)
M&Ms guy (staying entire game and miscalling Goodrum out on strikes before HR in 9th)
Schoolly_D (early credits rolling on the gamethread in the 9th)
Joakim Soria (1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 HR in the 9th)