Hammerin’ and hustlin’ Eric Haase has career day in Tigers’ rout of White Sox

Detroit News

Detroit – Eric Haase had a couple of things working against him in the fourth inning Saturday when he drove a sinking liner into center field.

One, speedy Billy Hamilton was playing center field for the White Sox and, as he typically does, he was playing shallow. Two, Miguel Cabrera, less than speedy, was on first base — not unlike being stuck behind a pulling guard on an open field run.

And three, it’s probably been since his days at Dearborn Divine Child that he’s had to sprint four bases in one long gallop.

So when Hamilton dove and missed Haase’s liner, the odds were only about even that he’d chase Cabrera all the way to home plate, let alone score himself.

But the ball rolled to the wall in center, 420 feet from home plate, and when the dust settled, Jonathan Schoop, Cabrera and Haase all scored on the inside-the-park home run.

It was a wonderful moment for the Tigers. But Haase wasn’t done.

He followed up the “Little League home run” with a big-boy blast, another three-run shot, in the seventh – turbo-thrusting the Tigers to a rousing 11-5 win over the A.L. Central-leading Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

It was Haase’s fourth multi-homer game of the season (No. 10 and 11) and a career-high six RBIs. Have a day.

The Tigers, who had lost five straight against the White Sox this season, nine of the first 11, showed some mettle in this one, rallying out of a pair of two-run deficits against stingy and savvy lefty Dallas Keuchel.

Haase’s inside-the-park jaunt put them up 3-2, but they came to bat in the fifth down 5-3 – and commenced to pick Keuchel apart.

Singles by Nos. 8-9 hitters Willi Castro and Jake Rogers started the inning. Leadoff hitter Akil Baddoo walked to load the bases. Then Schoop (two-run single) and Jeimer Candelario (RBI single) sent Keuchel to the showers.

Right-handed reliever Ryan Burr replaced him and seemed about to shut down the party when he struck out Cabrera and Haase. But the strike zone shrunk on him. He walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases and then walked Zack Short to force in the Tigers’ fourth run of the inning.

The White Sox bench was loudly displeased with home plate umpire Tom Hallion’s interpretation of the strike zone, so much so that pitching coach Ethan Katz was ejected for vocalizing his vehement displeasure.

Haase’s second three-run homer came off an 82-mph cutter from lefty reliever Jace Fry, a pitch he drove oppo into the right-center field seats.

Schoop trumped Haase in terms of clout distance. He put a serious charge (107.6 mph off his bat) on a hanging breaking ball from Matt Foster in the eighth inning and hit it into the shrubbery in center field — 440 feet. It was his team-leading 16th homer.

The offense was a pick-me-up for rookie lefty Tarik Skubal, who will have better days. The White Sox roughed him up a bit.

Tim Anderson doubled twice and scored twice. Jose Abreu singled twice, scored twice and knocked in two. And, the crusher, Leury Garcia hit a two-out two-run home run in the fifth.

Skubal, after striking out Andrew Vaughn, key-holed a 92-mph fastball that Garcia hit 415 feet into the seats in left. Instead of leaving the game tied, Skubal left the Tigers in a 5-3 hole.

It was far from insurmountable on this day.

After the four-run uprising in the fifth, the Tigers’ bullpen did what they’ve been doing consistently since the end of May – locked it down.

Joe Jimenez, who is experiencing quite a renaissance, struck out the side in the sixth. In his last 9.1 innings, he’s allowed two earned runs with 11 strikeouts and just two walks.

Jose Cisnero got an inning-ended double-play ball from Abreu and put up a zero in the seventh. He’s allowed just one earned run in his last 22 innings. He’s fanned 23 in that span.

Kyle Funkhouser, who has been scored on once in his last 11 outings, pitched a scoreless eighth.

And Buck Farmer, coming off a rough outing on Friday, pitched a clean ninth.

Twitter@cmccosky

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