Chicago — The Tigers’ six-game winning streak was halted abruptly Saturday, almost as quickly as Gregory Soto buzzed all the hair off coach Ramon Santiago’s head the night before.
Santiago paid up on his pledge to shave his head if the Tigers won six straight games. Soto sat him in a chair Friday night and held him to his word.
It was the White Sox turn to have fun Saturday, beating the Tigers 8-0 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
They took the drama out of this one early, scoring six runs in the first two innings against rookie right-hander Garrett Hill, all with two outs.
Gavin Sheets, with two on and two out in the first inning, blasted a 2-2 cutter 408 feet over the wall in center field. Hill got the first two batters out in the second and then in rapid succession gave up a double to Tim Anderson, hit Andrew Vaughn, gave up an RBI single to Louis Robert and a ringing two-run double to Jose Abreu.
Abreu’s drive, which extended his hitting streak to 14 games, left his bat at 110 mph and sailed over the head of right fielder Willi Castro, who might’ve taken a too-direct path to the ball.
Still, it was a rude awakening for Hill. It was his second big-league start coming off a successful six-inning debut where he allowed a run and two hits in six innings against Cleveland.
Impressively though, he was able to turn his outing around and limit the stress on the bullpen. The double by Abreu was the last hit Hill allowed working through the fifth inning.
He was at 80 pitches through three innings and needed just 17 pitches to get through the fourth and fifth.
Hill got the White Sox hitters to beat balls into the ground, inducing seven ground ball outs in his final 3 1/3 innings, setting down the last nine batters he faced.
The early damage was fatal, though, as the Tigers couldn’t solve the riddle of 15-year veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto. The 36-year-old was shimmying and shaking, changing his cadence, quick-pitching, slide-stepping — the full Cueto.
And he blanked the Tigers on five hits over eight innings. Spencer Torkelson’s double with two outs in the eighth was the only extra-base hit he allowed.
Even though Hill got through five innings, the Tigers still couldn’t avoid using a position player to pitch an inning. Kody Clemens, his pitches barely exceeding 50 mph — except one he cut loose at 78 mph — got Josh Harrison, Tim Anderson and Vaughn to ground out to shortstop.
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