Matt Manning did everything he was supposed to Friday evening.
He pitched efficiently — covering seven scoreless innings on 87 pitches — and put the Detroit Tigers in a position to win the three-game series opener against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.
The Tigers squandered a two-run lead, but they came back in extra innings, winning 3-2 on a walk-off sacrifice fly from Victor Reyes in a matchup with White Sox closer Liam Hendriks in the bottom of the 10th.
Javier Báez finished 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, walk, stolen base — and two throwing errors. He leads MLB with 26 errors and has drawn 25 walks with 18 games remaining this season.
Reyes’ drive to center brought home Ryan Kreidler, who had opened the 10th as the Tigers’ free extra-inning runner. Kreidler advanced to third on a sac bunt by Willi Castro, who was then safe on an error by Hendriks when throwing to first. That set up Reyes, who connected with a 1-2 pitch from the Australian right-handed reliever.
A messy eighth inning nearly cost the Tigers (55-89) the game.
Manager A.J. Hinch replaced Manning with right-handed reliever Joe Jiménez with a two-run cushion, but the White Sox evened the score, 2-2, on Jose Abreu’s two-out, two-run double. To set up Abreu’s double, Josh Harrison doubled and Elvis Andrus singled with one out in the eighth.
The bottom of the eighth, facing White Sox righty reliever Joe Kelly, started positively but ended miserably. Báez collected his third hit, a hustle double to center, and moved up to third base on Eric Haase’s groundout to the right side of the infield.
That brought Spencer Torkelson to the plate with one out.
Torkelson, in his 11th game since returning to the big leagues, fell behind 0-2 in the count but took three consecutive down-and-away curveballs to work a full count. The sixth-pitch, another down-and-away curve, fooled him. He struck out swinging for the second out. The ball was blocked by catcher Yasmani Grandal and bounced in front of the plate. On the strikeout, Báez tried to score from third base, as Torkelson leaned over in frustration.
Kelly gloved the ball and flipped it to Grandal without a transfer for an inning-ending double play.
In the top of the 10th, righty Alex Lange opened the door for the Tigers’ walk-off victory by striking out Harrison, Andrus and Yoan Moncada. He stranded Luis Robert, the free extra-innings runner, on second base. Lange, known for his swing-and-miss repertoire, punched out Harrison with a curveball, Andrus with a fastball and Moncada with a changeup.
In the first inning, Manning reached 94.5 mph twice in his matchup with Abreu. An inside fastball got Abreu for the second out. He needed 19 pitches for three outs and worked around a leadoff single from Andrus.
Andrus, the former Oakland Athletics shortstop who entered Friday batting .350 in September, collected another single in the third inning, but after that, Manning silenced the White Sox throughout the remainder of his start. He allowed just one other hit and finished with zero walks.
After 19 pitches in the first, Manning needed 12 pitches in the second, 13 in the third, 11 in the fourth, 13 in the fifth, 11 in the sixth and eight in the seventh. His final pitch was his fastest: a 97.6 mph fastball that induced a groundout to end the seventh.
Manning’s fifth, despite facing the bottom of the lineup, was the most impressive. He struck out AJ Pollock with a 96.9 mph fastball and Grandal with a 96.3 mph fastball for the second and third outs, respectively.
In the sixth, Andrus reached safely on a throwing error by Báez. (He had another throwing error in the ninth.) Andrus stole second base and advanced to third base when Moncada’s flied out for the second out. The situation brought Abreu to the plate with two outs and a runner on third.
Manning challenged Abreu with back-to-back fastballs in the strike zone. On the second pitch, clocked at 95.7 mph, Abreu flied out to center. Manning worked around a leadoff double from Eloy Jimenez in the seventh.
For his 87 pitches (59 strikes), Manning threw 56 four-seam fastballs (64%), 26 sliders (30%), three changeups (3%), one curveball (1%) and one sinker (1%). He recorded nine swings and misses — seven fastballs and two sliders — along with 13 called strikes. His fastball averaged 93.5 mph, and the White Sox averaged an 89.5 mph exit velocity on 20 balls in play.
Tork ticks early
Torkelson put the Tigers ahead 1-0 in the first inning, but his at-bat was one of three successful plate appearances with two outs. Before Torkelson’s key swing, Báez singled on a two-strike slider and Haase worked a six-pitch walk.
With Báez on second base, Torkelson swung at Giolito’s fastball and sent the ball back up the middle and into center.
The Tigers failed to capitalize on Giolito’s struggles but chased him after 96 pitches with two outs in the fifth inning when Báez tripled to right-center field. Right-handed reliever Jimmy Lambert entered and struck out Haase him.
A one-run lead increased to a two-run advantage in the sixth inning on Jonathan Schoop’s home run against Lambert’s hanging slider. Schoop has 10 homers this season and became the fourth player on the team to reach double-digits.