The first inning was an eventful one for both teams. Largely due to some uncharacteristic plate discipline against Detroit starter Drew Hutchison, the White Sox strolled into a scoring opportunity. After Andrew Vaughn singled with one out, José Abreu and Yoán Moncada drew back-to-back walks with two outs. That brought up Leury García with an RBI opportunity, but he struck out on three pitches.
In the bottom of the first, starter Dylan Cease worked into trouble but nearly escaped it. With the bases loaded and one out, Cease struck out Javier Báez with a 97 mph fastball on a 3-2 pitch. That seemed to give the White Sox a momentum boost, but Cease made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to second base. As a result, the Tigers scored the first run of the game. Although the Tigers failed to tack on any additional runs, they settled for an early 1-0 lead, and in doing so made Cease throw 29 pitches.
Thanks to some two-out life in the top of the second, however, the White Sox did not stay behind for long. After Hutchison retired Adam Engel and Reese McGuire, Danny Mendick, AJ Pollock, Vaughn, and Luis Robert hit four consecutive singles. That parade of hits gave the South Siders a 2-1 lead.
The White Sox added to their lead in the fifth against right-handed reliever Wily Peralta. Vaughn led off with his third single of the day, and Robert followed by getting hit by a pitch. Abreu struck out, but Moncada delivered an RBI double to drive in Vaughn. García proceeded to pad the lead with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-1.
Meanwhile, although Cease’s laborious first inning appeared to set the tone for a short, unsuccessful outing, Cease made an excellent recovery. Cease’s second, third, and fourth frames were relatively drama-free. By contrast, the fifth inning was a bit of a struggle. Victor Reyes and Harold Castro opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and Will Castro worked a full count. Cease’s payoff pitch with a slider that barely clipped the top of the zone, and he got the close call, so Castro was out.
Austin Meadows, the next hitter, grounded into a force out, and the Tigers had runners on the corners with two outs for Báez. Cease was at 103 pitches at the beginning of that at-bat, but Tony La Russa left him on the mound. That decision paid off, as Báez lined out to left to end the threat. Cease’s final line was as follows: five innings, one run (unearned due to his own error, Cease cheated the system!), seven hits, one walk, eight strikeouts, 108 pitches.
Still leading by a score of 4-1, the White Sox got back to business with two outs and nobody on base in the sixth. Pollock missed a home run by inches, but settled for a double with a terrific slide into second base. Vaughn followed with an infield single that was perfectly placed, and Robert drove in a run with a Kansas City Special to right.
In the latter portion of the game, Jimmy Lambert pitched two shutout innings, Joe Kelly pitched a perfect eighth, and Reynaldo López pitched a scoreless ninth. On the offensive side, Vaughn drew a walk in his fifth and final plate appearance. Vaughn reached base every time he batted, finishing 4-for-4 with that one free pass.
The White Sox will be back in action against the Tigers tomorrow. As usual, the game will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage. That game is scheduled to begin at 12:10 p.m. Central. Let’s get that sweep.