Detroit — The Detroit Tigers got a good chance to show off the future of their rotation to a division rival this weekend.
After starts from Casey Mize on Friday and Tarik Skubal on Saturday, Sunday was Matt Manning’s turn to take on the first-place Chicago White Sox on Fourth of July weekend.
But with Manning faltering, it was the future of the Tigers’ lineup that stepped in to save the day and escape with a 6-5 win at Comerica Park, securing Detroit’s first series victory over the White Sox since September 2018.
Rookie Akil Baddoo had two hits with a double, two RBIs, a stolen base and a run scored and Jeimer Candelario had three hits with two runs and an RBI, as the Tigers tagged White Sox ace Lucas Giolito for six earned runs on 10 hits in five innings.
“We’re riding high right now,” Baddoo said. “It’s just how we’ve been playing lately. We talked about it earlier before the game, just continue to bring pressure and try to win each series. That’s what we’ve been doing lately.”
Eric Haase and Harold Castro each had two hits and an RBI and Daz Cameron added a hit, run and stolen base for Detroit (38-46).
The Tigers appeared to have a comfortable lead before Jose Abreu’s three-run homer in the ninth off Gregory Soto made it a one-run game with one out.
Detroit got a run in the first and three more in the second to give Manning the run support he’d need, despite giving up seven hits and two earned runs in just 2⅔ innings.
“What I told Manning was don’t let me taking him out in the third inning or some of the little soft hits characterize this as a negative start,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “He actually showed progress. I thought his slider was pretty good, he mixed in a slower breaking ball today.”
Under different circumstances, Hinch might have let Manning suffer some growing pains.
“I wanted to go aggressively after this win to try to get the series against that team,” Hinch said. “It wasn’t all Manning being ineffective.”
Abreu had three hits, four RBIs and two runs scored and Tim Anderson had three hits and two runs scored for the White Sox (49-34), which mustered 13 hits but left 10 runners on base.
Manning fell behind his first two hitters of the day, Anderson and Gavin Sheets, and both made him pay with bloop singles. Zach Short started a double play off the hop of a hard-hit ball by Abreu, before Manning got Brian Goodwin to fly out and end the inning without any damage allowed.
“Even the way they started the game with a couple of soft hits, and he stayed in there,” Hinch said. “There’s some positive things to take away. I went to the bullpen because of the matchup that we had, and I liked that the left side of our bullpen was pretty fresh.”
Baddoo led off the game for Detroit with an infield single, then stole second. He advanced to third on a ground ball to short by Jonathan Schoop and scored on a softly hit fielder’s choice from Robbie Grossman that put the Tigers up 1-0.
Hinch afterward touched on the team’s ability to get runs across without having to hit home runs.
“We can put pressure on any team,” Hinch said. “We scored in the first inning without the ball even leaving the infield.
“That in itself is built from athleticism. If we just sit at first base it’s 0-0 and we’re continuing to play on.”
Candelario followed Baddoo’s example and led off the second inning with an two-strike single, Haase lined a ball down the left-field line for a double and Cameron drew a seven-pitch walk to load the bases with nobody out.
Castro hit a low-and-away changeup for an RBI single, again on an 0-2 count, and Baddoo got a changeup high in the zone two batters later that was roped for a double to score two and give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Manning started to wobble again in the third inning, giving up a single to Anderson, an RBI single to Abreu, and a liner to Goodwin as the White Sox cut Detroit’s lead to 4-1. Leury Garcia scored Abreu with a sacrifice fly and Andrew Vaughn ended Manning’s day with a single in the next at-bat.
Tyler Alexander took over for Manning and allowed two baserunners with nobody out in the fourth but stranded a runner on third after a double play and strikeout. He kept Chicago scoreless over 2⅓ innings before being replaced by Kyle Funkhouser, who pitched 1⅔ innings of scoreless baseball while giving up two hits.
Schoop led off the fifth with a single. He advanced to second on a bunt by Grossman and to third on a Cabrera groundout. Candelario drove home Schoop with an RBI double and scored on a single by Haase to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead in the fifth.
Daniel Norris and Joe Jimenez each threw scoreless relief appearances before Soto took over in the ninth.
Soto gave up hits to Billy Hamilton and Anderson in the ninth to put runners at the corners with nobody out. He struck out Danny Mendick and gave up the three-run homer to Abreu before getting the boot with two outs in the ninth after a walk to Garcia.
Jose Cisnero got the final out, a lineout to right, on his first pitch to end it.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.