Detroit Tigers too wild in 2-1 loss to Chicago White Sox

Detroit Free Press

CHICAGO — The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox traded runs on wild pitches.

A wild pitch ended the game, too.

Weak offensive performances and strong starting pitching performances highlighted the second of three games in the series Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. The two teams combined for three runs, seven hits and six walks across 10 innings.

The White Sox snapped the tie in the bottom of the 10th inning with a walk-off wild pitch from right-handed reliever José Cisnero, allowing Yoan Moncada to score. Catcher Eric Haase called for a slider, but Cisnero threw a 96.4 mph four-seam fastball off the face mask of home plate umpire Cory Blaser.

The Tigers lost, 2-1.

“You don’t see many of them, and certainly not in a low-scoring game when everything matters,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of the three runs on wild pitches. “It happened today. You stick around long enough, you’re going to see a lot of things, but it’s definitely a bad way to lose.”

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In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Tigers (26-30) put Cisnero on the mound, while the White Sox sent Moncada to second base as the free runner in extra innings.

At that point, the White Sox hadn’t scored since the fourth inning.

Romy Gonzalez dropped a perfectly executed bunt down the third-base line to advance Moncada to third base. With two outs, Cisnero intentionally walked Gavin Sheets and hit Jake Burger in the hand to load the bases.

A wild pitch on Cisnero’s first pitch to Tim Anderson ended the game. The Tigers and White Sox played the first game in MLB history with three runs scored on wild pitches and zero runs scored in other ways.

“We were trying to go slider,” Haase said. “Cisnero said he heard sinker (on the PitchCom device in his hat). Obviously, it’s pretty close but an unfortunate spot to be in. I hope Cory is OK because that’s not what we’re looking for. I’m not sure where it hit him, and I’m not sure where the ball went. It was a lot of chaos going on.”

The Tigers, also starting with a free runner on second base, failed to score in the top of the 10th off right-hander Reynaldo Lopez despite a leadoff walk from Nick Maton. Zack Short flew out to shallow right field, Jonathan Schoop popped out to the middle of the infield and Jake Marisnick grounded out.

Detroit finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s first and second (base) on the road,” Hinch said of the 10th inning. “It’s tough to give an out away at the bottom half of our order right now, where we’re struggling really to get something going. It is what it is. We’ve got to find a different way to win, and today wasn’t it.”

Before extra innings

In the top of the eighth inning, Javier Báez struck out swinging on three pitches from White Sox right-handed reliever Gregory Santos. The third-pitch slider, combined with Báez’s whiff, stranded Marisnick on second base.

Meanwhile, Tigers right-handed reliever Jason Foley escaped trouble by stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth inning when he retired Burger (strikeout) and Anderson (lineout).

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Before Burger stepped to the plate, Hinch went to the mound to create a plan with his team. The meeting occurred after Foley allowed a leadoff single, struck out Yasmani Grandal and intentionally walked Sheets to put two runners on base with one out.

“We could work around Sheets,” Hinch said. “We were trying to do anything we could to keep the ball on the ground.”

The Tigers were sent down in order in the top of the ninth inning.

“We wasted rock-solid outings by our pitchers, especially when we know we’re going to get good pitching from the other side,” Haase said. “We definitely need to do a better job swinging the bats and keeping pressure on those guys. Our guys are throwing the ball way too good not to be getting decisions.”

Right-handed reliever Alex Lange took over on the mound with the game tied at one run apiece in the bottom of the ninth. Lange, who serves as the closer without the official title, had to face the heart of Chicago’s batting order.

Andrew Benintendi opened the inning with a leadoff single, but Lange bounced back with consecutive strikeouts of Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. Moncada then grounded out to send the game to extra innings.

“I don’t think anybody doubts that he can escape any situation,” Hinch said of Lange. “We just lost it at the end.”

Superb start No. 1

Right-hander Michael Lorenzen looked sharp from start to finish.

He allowed two hits — a leadoff single from Anderson in the first inning and a leadoff single from Benintendi in the fourth inning — and didn’t concede a walk through seven innings. He racked up six strikeouts and induced a multitude of groundouts.

“He was using all his pitches, getting his fastball to the top of the zone, running his sinker into righties, landing his secondary pitches behind in the count,” Haase said. “He looked very polished and continued to give us good innings.”

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The White Sox scored in the fourth inning, taking a 1-0 lead, on Benintendi’s single and three consecutive strikeouts from Robert, Jimenez and Moncada. An uncontested stolen base and two wild pitches from Lorenzen (with Haase behind the plate) allowed Benintendi to score from first base without a ball in play.

Other than those singles, Lorenzen was perfect for the Tigers in his ninth start of the season. The 31-year-old owns a 1.83 ERA (eight earned runs) with seven walks and 26 strikeouts in 39⅓ innings over his past six starts, dating back to May 3.

Lorenzen relied heavily on his slider, which the White Sox failed to put in play with hard contact, and mixed five different pitches: 31% sliders, 21% four-seam fastballs, 21% sinkers, 14% sweepers and 13% changeups.

He generated nine whiffs and 15 called strikes.

Superb start No. 2

As Lorenzen worked his magic, White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease bounced back from a rough start against the Tigers at Comerica Park. This time, he allowed one run on two hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

Cease pitched into the sixth inning.

He recorded one out in the sixth before he was replaced by right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton. Zach McKinstry opened the inning with a leadoff triple on Cease’s third-pitch slider.

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McKinstry scored to tie the game, 1-1, on Cease’s wild pitch before Báez struck out swinging. (Báez, hitting .226, finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.)

The Tigers had an opportunity to score in the fourth inning when Akil Baddoo drew a one-out walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. But Spencer Torkelson grounded out, and despite Haase’s two-out walk, Maton struck out swinging on three consecutive pitches.

Maton swung through two changeups and a slider to strand the runners.

Cease registered a whopping 23 whiffs with 10 sliders, seven fastballs, two curveballs and four changeups.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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