DETROIT -- One night after the Tigers came from behind to beat the White Sox with starting pitcher Mike Fiers getting roughed up in the early going, the same characters walked on stage to perform the same play. But this time they swapped roles, and despite a two-homer day from
DETROIT -- One night after the Tigers came from behind to beat the White Sox with starting pitcher Mike Fiers getting roughed up in the early going, the same characters walked on stage to perform the same play. But this time they swapped roles, and despite a two-homer day from Jeimer Candelario, the Tigers dropped a 8-4 decision to the White Sox on Saturday at Comerica Park.
In his second game back from the disabled list, Candelario hit home runs in his first two at-bats off White Sox starter Hector Santiago. He drove a first-pitch sinker 426 feet to left-center to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The ball had an exit velocity of 109.4 mph, according to Statcast™. In his next at-bat in the third, Candelario took Santiago's slider 357 feet into the Tigers' bullpen in left field to give Detroit a 3-1 lead.
"I think that's one of the main things I have in my mind: don't give away at-bats, and be aggressive," said the switch-hitting Candelario, who hit both home runs from the right side of the plate.
The knocks marked the team-high sixth and seventh home runs of the season for Candelario, who also recorded his first career multi-home run game.
Another early bright spot for the Tigers' offense was Victor Reyes, who singled to right on the first pitch he had seen since May 17, then stole second off of Santiago.
"He's doing what you expect," said Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire, who admitted before the game that he hasn't been getting Reyes as many at-bats as he would like. "He hasn't played in a long time, hasn't gotten many at-bats. First time up, swung first pitch. Second time up, swung first pitch. I think it was, 'Get them before they get you.'"
Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano continued in the groove he found during a no-hit bid last Sunday in Seattle and made quick work of the White Sox en route to a season-best eight strikeouts. The scoreless effort lasted until Jose Abreu doubled to left to score Tim Anderson from first and cut the Tigers' lead to 2-1.
Abreu entered Saturday's game hitting .397 with three home runs in his past 17 games.
Solo homers from Anderson and Abreu in the top of the fifth tied the game at 3, and a solo homer from Daniel Palka in the sixth gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead. Anderson hit another home run, this one a three-run shot with two outs in the sixth, off reliever Louis Coleman to blow open the game.
"Every time it seemed like [Liriano] made a mistake, they didn't just hit it, [they homered]," Gardenhire said. "That kinda got them back into it, gave them a little breathing room, a little life."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Martin retired with bases loaded: Not in the starting lineup with a left-hander on the mound, Leonys Martin came on in the bottom of the eighth to pinch-hit for Reyes with the bases loaded and two outs. Martin took hard hacks at a fastball and slider but ended the inning with a hard groundout to second baseman Yoan Moncada, keeping the Tigers' deficit at 8-3.
"If we get that one in there, we could've been within a couple of runs," Gardenhire said. "But they had the shift on him and got him. He hit a missile. That was our shot, and it didn't work."
Though he took the loss, Liriano struck out a season-high eight batters. His 1,687 career strikeouts ranks sixth among Dominican-born pitchers.
The Tigers will wrap up their weekend series against the White Sox on Sunday with Blaine Hardy (0-0, 3.46 ERA) taking the rubber for a 1:10 p.m. ET start at Comerica Park. The lefty reliever will be making his third start for the injured Jordan Zimmermann. The White Sox will oppose with James Shields (1-4, 4.62), who allowed three runs in five innings in his last start against Detroit on April 5.
Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.