Sanchez delivers in clutch as White Sox tip Tigers
CHICAGO — The third time was the charm for the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
After failing to break a tie with two runners on base and less than two outs in the seventh and eighth innings, the White Sox finally got the job done in the ninth to defeat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 in the first contest of a three-game series.
After Tim Anderson’s leadoff double to left field, Yolmer Sanchez ended the game with a single off Tigers’ rookie right-hander Joe Jimenez (0-2), lining the ball to right field to score the winning run.
“They gave me the opportunity to swing, when I most of the time just bunt to move the runner (over),” said Sanchez, who went 2-for-4. “I just tried to pull the ball. The first time he threw me fastball, the first pitch, and I missed it. Then he threw me a breaking ball, and when I get into a stride, I just tried to hit the ball to the right side, move the runner.”
Jimenez, a hard-throwing prospect who is a dominating closer in the minor leagues, didn’t record an out. He continued taking his lumps at the major league level.
“I felt good,” Jimenez said through an interpreter. “I tried to make my pitches and I felt like (Sanchez) was looking for a fastball. The whole sequence, the whole at-bat, I was throwing everything I wanted to throw, but I threw a ball that was low. I felt like I could get him down there, but he just dug it out and got a hit off it. It was just a good at bat for him.”
Juan Minaya (2-1) earned the win by pitching a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth.
The starting pitchers each settled for no-decisions after allowing two runs apiece and each throwing 71 strikes and 104 pitches. Justin Verlander went seven innings for the Tigers, yielding six hits and striking out eight. Miguel Gonzalez went eight innings for Chicago, giving up seven hits and fanning nine.
“Verlander and Gonzalez both pitched extremely well,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “They both got deep into the game. In the end, (Chicago) got the big hits in the bottom of the ninth to win it, the two big hits.”
Jose Abreu went 2-for-2 with a home run off Verlander in the first inning, and was intentionally walked twice. Avisail Garcia went 1-for-3 and also hit an RBI single for the White Sox (51-76) to tie it 2-2 in the sixth.
Victor Martinez went 3-for-4 and Jose Iglesias went 1-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the Tigers (55-72).
After Garcia’s single tied it at 2, the White Sox failed to capitalize on chances to go ahead in the seventh and eighth.
They put runners at first and third with one out in the seventh, only to squander it on a pop out by Alen Hanson and Sanchez being thrown out at home on a double steal. The Tigers then escaped in the eighth on a key double play, after right-hander Alex Wilson allowed the first two runners to reach base on a leadoff double by Tyler Saladino and intentional walk to Abreu.
Sanchez made sure it didn’t happen a third time in a row when he came to the plate in the ninth.
The White Sox took an early 1-0 lead on Abreu’s solo home run in the first inning, and it stood for four innings.
Detroit finally got to Gonzalez in the fifth, when the Tigers took a 2-1 lead on a two-run single by Iglesias.
“We’re always going to fight until the end,” Sanchez said. “We always battle. Doesn’t matter the score. (Gonzalez) threw really well. He gave us a chance to win the game.”
NOTES: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera, RHP Alex Wilson and manager Brad Ausmus were issued suspensions Friday for their roles in three benches-clearing brawls against the New York Yankees on Thursday. Cabrera received seven games, Wilson got four and Ausmus was given a one-game suspension. Cabrera and Wilson are appealing, and both played Friday against the White Sox. Ausmus was also available, because his suspension is tied to Wilson admitting he intentionally hit a batter. ... Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos was a late scratch from the starting lineup for undisclosed reasons. Dixon Machado replaced Castellanos at third base. ... The White Sox placed rookie 2B Yoan Moncada on the 10-day disabled list with a bone contusion on his right shin. Chicago activated 3B Matt Davidson from the DL, but did not start him. ... White Sox rookie INF/OF Nicky Delmonico will undergo an MRI on his right wrist, which he injured Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. ... Chicago CF Leury Garcia didn’t play because of soreness in his back.