Chicago — Riley Greene walked through the dugout before the game just as his manager was about to start his pre-game press briefing.
“Riley Greene,” AJ Hinch said. “You’re a great player.”
“Thank you,” said Greene, as he strode onto the field.
Greene was certainly a great player Friday night. He commandeered the fifth inning in the Tigers’ 4-2 win against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With the Tigers trailing 1-0, Greene lashed a two-run, two-out single in the top of the fifth. Then he ended the bottom half of the inning with a spectacular diving catch in left-center, robbing Tim Anderson of extra bases.
He ran 71 feet into the gap, according to Statcast, covering 27.3 feet per second. Then without breaking stride, he caught the ball with a full-extension dive.
He landed hard and seemed to jar his shoulder. He went into the clubhouse between innings. He played left field in the sixth but was removed for pinch-hitter Andre Lipcius, in the seventh.
There was no immediate word from the Tigers on Greene’s condition.
Lipcius ended up going 0-for-2 in his big-league debut with a strikeout and fly out to right.
The Tigers scored their third run in the sixth, taking advantage of an errant relay throw.
With the fans chanting, “Let’s go Miggy,” Miguel Cabrera lined a single to right-center, sending Spencer Torkelson to third with one out. Parker Meadows hit a popup behind second base. Torkelson tagged and bluffed going home but he didn’t actually break until Lenyn Sosa’s throw bounced away in the infield.
Jake Rogers kept the inning alive with a base hit and then Zack Short lined a single to left. Cabrera, waved home by third base coach Gary Jones, was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
The Tigers challenged saying catcher Korey Lee illegally blocked the plate. Video review upheld the call.
The Tigers also stole three bases: Greene, Zach McKinstry (16) and Baddoo. It’s the fourth time this season they’ve stolen three or more against the White Sox.
Baddoo’s stolen base set up the fourth run. He scored on Rogers’ third single of the night.
Tigers’ lefty ace Eduardo Rodriguez deftly picked his way through the White Sox lineup, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings, despite not having the normal zip on his fastball.
The average velocity on his four-seamer was down nearly 2 mph (to 90.4 mph), but he was commanding it well and using the changeup as his primary secondary pitch against the seven right-handed hitters Chicago lined up against him.
He ended up throwing 35 four-seamers and 31 changeups, getting six swinging strikes and a lot of soft contact. Eight balls were put in play against the changeup with a mild average exit velocity of 77.8 mph.
He had seven strikeouts, as well.
The one run he allowed was a sloppy one in the third inning. He’d struck out Oscar Colas and Lee to start the inning and got ahead of Anderson 0-2. But he ended up walking him. Rodriguez got two quick strikes on Benintendi, too. But he first threw a wild pitch to put Anderson in scoring position, then gave up an RBI single to one of just two lefties in the White Sox lineup.
He gave up a couple of singles in the seventh and handed the baton to Beau Brieske with runners at the corners and two outs. Brieske got pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal to fly out to left.
The White Sox nicked Brieske in the eighth. A bloop double by Benintendi advanced Anderson to third. He tagged and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Right-hander Will Vest got the final two outs in the eighth, the last an emphatic punch-out of Yoan Moncada, stranding Benintendi at third.
Alex Lange locked down the ninth for his 20th save.