Error, missed chances haunt White Sox
Viciedo drops ball in ninth for three-base error; bunt scores winner
CHICAGO -- As Ronald Belisario walked toward his locker following the White Sox 4-3 loss to the Tigers at rainy U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, he stopped briefly to give Dayan Viciedo a supportive pat on the shoulder.
It was Viciedo who was charged with a three-base error on Austin Jackson's long fly ball to right-center off of Belisario (1-3) with one out in the ninth that set up the winning run for Detroit (13-9). But Viciedo's tough misplay, with the ball falling out of the top of his glove following a long run on wet grass, was not the reason for the South Siders' third loss in five games this season to the American League Central leaders.
The White Sox (14-14) missed prime scoring opportunities in the seventh against Justin Verlander and in the eighth against Joba Chamberlain (1-1). They also were victimized by a perfect bunt from catcher Bryan Holaday, allowing Jackson to score the go-ahead tally when Belisario's throw to first was high and a little late.
With two outs and third baseman Marcus Semien playing deep at third, Holaday's single down the third-base line simply falls under the smart baseball move category.
"Textbook. I mean it was good, it was a perfect bunt," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Just a smart play. It would have been tough to get him on a night that was dry, let alone the way it was. So it was just a smart play."
"I'm really confident in my bunting ability. At [Texas Christian University], we did it a lot," Holaday said. "I'm confident that I'm able to get it down, so that's not a problem. I was just focusing on the third baseman, seeing what he was doing. I noticed he was starting in and then backed up. That's when I thought I had a good chance to lay it down."
Behind another quality start from Jose Quintana, the White Sox built up a 3-1 lead entering the sixth. They scored all of their runs off of Verlander over the course of five batters in the third, with Adam Eaton doubling home Semien, Gordon Beckham singling in Eaton and Adam Dunn scoring Beckham with a double to right.
This same sort of sudden uprising, only this time for Detroit, took down Quintana in the sixth, as four straight two-out singles from Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter and Jackson tied the game at 3. Quintana finished one off his career high with 10 strikeouts over six innings, and by not issuing a walk, has made 40 consecutive starts giving up three free passes or fewer. Quintana and the White Sox offense traded postgame blame for this particular setback.
"I gave up a big inning in the sixth inning. I was trying to throw a really good pitch, but I missed a little bit up with Jackson," said Quintana, who threw 107 pitches. "It's my fault. It's a tight game."
"When Q pitches his butt off and gets three runs through [six] innings, offensively we definitely need to kick it in," Eaton said. "We missed some chances there. But they are a good team at the same time. Stuff like that is going to happen. It's just a good game overall. The hitters as a whole in those situations, we need to step up and contribute. We'll look to do that tomorrow."
Alejandro De Aza's one-out triple gave the White Sox a chance against Verlander in the seventh. But after a walk to Tyler Flowers, Verlander struck out Semien and Eaton, with Eaton snapping the bat over his leg in frustration. Semien tried a safety squeeze on a 1-1 pitch, but Verlander threw the pitch up and in.
"You can tell Justin kind of cranked it up somewhat when we had first-and-third, and he just kind of blew it away," Ventura said. "We had opportunities. We just didn't cash in on them."
"That's why he's such a great pitcher," said Eaton of Verlander, who struck out four over seven innings. "He gets out of jams like that. Give him some credit there."
Joe Nathan earned his fifth save with a perfect ninth, but Flowers put a little scare into the Tigers with a long fly ball caught by Jackson near the wall in center for the second out. On another less-than-glorious April night in Chicago, the ball definitely was not carrying.
Maybe that fact played into the Jackson fly ball involving Viciedo. Eaton said that Viciedo got a good jump on the ball, but sometimes it bounces loose when an outfielder is trying to make the play at full speed.
"Yeah, it looked like it tipped off his glove," said Ventura. "I don't know if he didn't see it that well, but when it's wet like this and you're running, sometimes you don't feel as fleet of foot as you normally do. You know, it's a ball he should probably catch."
Viciedo's error ended a stretch of 12 straight batters retired by Belisario (April 21-29), with the right-hander proceeding to strike out Nick Castellanos to keep the winning run at third. He wasn't quite good enough to offset Holaday's perfect bunt, a play the Tigers called for but Holaday ultimately did on his own when he didn't get the sign.
"Nothing you could do right there," Belisario said. "I almost got it, but you know the grass is wet and I couldn't get a good grip."