Detroit — The Tigers took down yet another first-place team Monday night, beating the Central Division-leading Chicago White Sox with a 4-3 comeback win before 12,884 at Comerica Park.
Detroit has won three straight, having taken the last two games at Tampa Bay against the East Division-leading Rays. They also swept a two-game series last week from the Milwaukee Brewers — one of the National League’s best teams.
Robbie Grossman was hit by a pitch from reliever Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the eighth inning, stole his 18th base of the season, and scored the winning run when Harold Castro hit a single between the first and second baseman into short right field.
Alex Lange got the save by inducing three groundball outs in the top of the ninth, and Drew Hutchison got the win with two shutout innings preceding him.
It was quite a finish after quite a comeback.
Both teams scored three runs in the third inning for the only scoring until the bottom of the eighth.
Tigers cleanup hitter Miguel Cabrera tied the score in the third on a medium-depth flyball to center that produced yet another milestone.
Cabrera, who got his 500th homer Aug. 22 at Toronto, collected RBI No. 1,800 on that sacrifice fly.
He became only the 22nd player to reach that number, and Frank Robinson (1,812) is the next Hall of Famer ahead of him on the RBI rung.
Cabrera has 71 RBIs this season, and had not surpassed 60 RBI since his last big season of 2016, when he knocked in 108. He can break into the Top 10 on that list with two more seasons as productive as this one.
Jimmy Foxx is No. 10 with 1,922 RBIs, and Detroit’s own Ty Cobb is No. 9 at 1,944.
Cabrera remains 21 hits shy of 3,000 hits with 11 games to play, and five doubles away from No. 600.
The Tigers came back that inning against starter Carlos Rodon by mounting a rally from the bottom of the batting order. No. 8 hitter Isaac Paredes worked a walk and No. 9 hitter Willi Castro singled to center.
Leadoff batter Victor Reyes kept the line moving with an RBI single to center, and then set up the rest of the scoring with some smart base-running.
Jonathan Schoop followed him in the order and hit a grounder that had definite double-play potential, and should’ve brought at least one out.
However, White Sox second baseman Cesar Hernandez didn’t appear to know what to do after fielding the ball with Reyes approaching him and opting to stop before falling backward.
Hernandez attempted unsuccessfully to tag him with a swipe of his glove, and then fired too late to get Schoop at first. Reyes got up after the throw to claim second base. Hernandez was credited with an error and Schoop was safe on a fielder’s choice.
So, there were two on with nobody out.
Grossman’s deep fly to right allowed Reyes to tag up and reach third, where Cabrera brought him home.
Rodon, who entered the game with a 12-5 record and 2.38 ERA, struck out Eric Haase to end the inning. But his night was over.
Rodon’s been dealing with shoulder fatigue and has not exceeded five innings in his last seven starts. He cruised through the first two innings with five strikeouts and only a walk allowed. But the Tigers got to him in the third inning to answer for their starter, Matt Manning.
Manning had worked himself out of a jam in the second inning, but walked No. 9 hitter Brian Goodwin leading off the third. Tim Anderson lashed a single to center and Manning then hit Luis Robert with a pitch, loading the bases.
He was in a bad spot, and Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter came to the mound to give him a breather and likely discuss pitching strategy about facing the heart of Chicago’s batting order.
Yoan Moncada knocked in the first run with a fielder’s choice grounder, putting runners on the corners.
Cleanup hitter Yasmani Grandal knocked in the second run with a sacrifice fly. Then Eloy Jimenez’s two-out double scored another.
Manning got Leury Garcia to ground out to Cabrera at first, ending the inning.
The rookie right-hander then settled down, allowing a lead-off single in the fourth and a two-out double in the fifth — but no further scoring.
His teammates tied the game for him in the bottom half of the inning, and then won it for reliever Hutchison in the bottom of the eighth.
Steve Kornacki is a freelance writer.