The White Sox came into Detroit with the largest division lead in all of Major League Baseball, and are the only team in the AL Central with a positive territory. Both of those stats improved when the Sox swept the toothless Detroit Tigers over the weekend in Motor City.
In Friday’s series opener, the Sox took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 9th, and handed the ball to closer Liam Hendriks, but rain continued to fall and turned into a downpour as Hendriks threw his first pitch to the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera. It was a ball, and he tossed that rain-soaked ball to the ballboy in foul territory, and not-so-subtly told the umpiring crew that he couldn’t safely work in these conditions.
That set in motion a 49 minute rain delay, which, once the rain cleared and the field was returned to a playable state, Hendriks allowed a base hit to Cabrera and a game-tying homer to send the game into extra innings.
But a sacrifice fly by Yoan Moncada in the top half of the 10th pushed across free runner Danny Mendick to give the Sox a lead, and Aaron Bummer locked it down in the home half of the 10th for his second save of the season. Hendriks, despite blowing the save, did pick up his third win on the season.
Saturday, the Sox offense jumped all over Tigers starter Jose Urena to the tune of 8 runs, while Urena only got five outs before being pulled. It took the Sox all of three pitches to score their first run, setting the tone for the day. Tim Anderson lined the very first pitch of the game to left for a double, and two pitches later, minor-league call-up Brian Goodwin made a good first impression with a hard-hit double into the right field corner.
His next at bat, he did better, launching a 3-run homer after the Tigers got two runs back in the bottom of the first. That 3-run dong made it 6-2 and the Sox never looked back. They added five runs in the 5th and two more in the 8th to make the final score 15-2 in Dylan Cease’s 8th win in 8 starts against Detroit in his career.
Sunday saw Carlos Rodon flirt with his second no-hitter of the year, but it was broken up in the 7th by Eric Haase on a fly ball over Andrew Vaughn’s head. Haase, however, benefited from a missed call on a 2-2 pitch that should have been called strike three, but the call ran the count full, and two pitches later, his fly ball eluded Vaughn, and after a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, he scored Detroit’s only run.
Rodon finished the day with 9 strike outs, two walks and only allowed the one run on one hit. Evan Marshall and Hendriks finished off the one-hitter, and the Sox got RBI’s from Jose Abreu, Danny Mendick and Leury Garcia knocked in a pair.
Now the Sox start a tough week’s worth of games, starting with a very interesting three-game set at home against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. After that, they head down to Houston for four, before the schedule softens up a bit before the All Star break.