The Detroit Tigers committed five errors in the first five innings. They were overdependant on the home run, with four of their five runs scoring via the dinger. And after shoving six innings of one-run ball, Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito ran out of gas in the seventh inning.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa didn’t pull Giolito until the Sox’s one-run lead had disappeared behind a walk from Willi Castro, a nine-pitch pop out from Akil Baddoo, an RBI double from Wilson Ramos and a two-run blast from Niko Goodrum. Even then, Giolito was left in to face JaCoby Jones and Robbie Grossman — with Grossman walking on Giolito’s 114th and final pitch.
“That’s my fault for not recognizing that,” La Russa said to reporters, after the Tigers (8-16) took advantage of his team’s mistakes for a 5-2 win Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field in the opener of a three-game series. “That’s something I should’ve recognized.”
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The Tigers needed the victory, entering the game with five straight losses and 10 defeats in their past 11 games, with strong starting pitching and poor offense capturing the narrative of a seemingly unwatchable stretch.
Even with all the errors — theirs and La Russa’s — they mustered up a win when a win felt most needed. Detroit had dropped nine in a row against the White Sox, dating to their final eight matchups of 2020.
“Our team needed a win in any way,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday. “It wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be if you stay in the fight and continue to throw punches when you can. Obviously, we had a big seventh inning, but we don’t get to that point if (Jose) Urena doesn’t manage the game.”
Urena executed a brilliant outing by inducing a career-high 15 groundball outs and four double plays in seven innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks, with two strikeouts. The effort made him the first Tiger with three consecutive seven-inning starts since Jordan Zimmermann in July and August 2017.
The White Sox went 0-for-11 against Urena with runners in scoring position. In the eighth inning, facing righty reliever Jose Cisnero, they went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. Lefty Gregory Soto tossed a perfect ninth inning to notch his third save.
“I was trying to play for ground balls,” said Urena, who has a 3.77 ERA through five starts. “That was the mindset. The best thing in the game was, even besides a couple of errors, those guys never gave up. They were focused and made the plays. We kept attacking.”
Detroit went 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position but got started with a solo home run from Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. He shellacked Giolito’s fastball 445 feet for a 1-0 lead. The 38-year-old is 128 hits away from No. 3,000 and 11 homers away from No. 500.
Since returning from the 10-day injured list (left biceps strain) Sunday, he’s 3-for-11 with two RBIs and five strikeouts in three games. His batting average improved to .171.
“I know he wants to contribute,” Hinch said. “He knows a lot falls on his shoulders on a young team that’s getting beat up a little bit.”
First baseman Jonathan Schoop, another veteran, homered against Matt Foster’s changeup in the eighth inning to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead. It was Schoop’s second homer this year and snapped a 0-for-14 (with seven strikeouts) skid. He is hitting .192 through 21 games.
Schoop made one of the five errors, along with Jeimer Candelario (two) at third, Castro at second and Urena. Candelario’s errors happened on a missed catch and poor throw, while the other there were fielding errors.
But the Tigers found a way to win.
This accomplishment marked Detroit’s first victory while making five-plus errors since July 8, 2007, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“It feels really good,” Schoop said Tuesday. “We come here to play baseball and win. It’s all about winning. We feel good about getting a win today and starting a winning streak. We lost a lot of games, but it’s in the past. You cannot control the past.”
“Forget about the past, learn from it and keep moving forward.”