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Tigers ride Upton's walk-off HR to series sweep

MLB.com

DETROIT -- After torching the White Sox for double-digit runs in the first two games of the series, the Tigers needed some drama to escape with a 7-4 walk-off win and take a three-game sweep over Chicago at Comerica Park on Sunday. Justin Upton homered for the 11th time this season, registering his fifth career walk-off home run.

Detroit earned its first sweep of the season, and now holds a season-high four-game win streak. The White Sox have lost five in a row for the second time this year.

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DETROIT -- After torching the White Sox for double-digit runs in the first two games of the series, the Tigers needed some drama to escape with a 7-4 walk-off win and take a three-game sweep over Chicago at Comerica Park on Sunday. Justin Upton homered for the 11th time this season, registering his fifth career walk-off home run.

Detroit earned its first sweep of the season, and now holds a season-high four-game win streak. The White Sox have lost five in a row for the second time this year.

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"When you're struggling as a team, you sometimes feel like nothing's going your way and it's hard to win," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But when you're winning baseball games and scoring runs, you come to the field thinking, 'All right, we can win today.' There is a confidence factor, and a momentum factor."

Chicago tied the game in the eighth after three doubles off of Alex Wilson, but Detroit came back in the ninth with an immediate threat. Nicholas Castellanos was hit on the hand with a pitch from closer David Robertson. Miguel Cabrera grounded out and J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked, setting up Upton's shot into the left-field seats on a knuckle-curve from Roberston.

Video: CWS@DET: Smith ties the game in the 8th inning

It was Robertson's second blown save against the Tigers this season, after he allowed two runs and earned the win against the Tigers on April 29.

"It was back and forth," said Upton, who barreled his home run a projected 421 feet, according to Statcast™. "We had to battle for runs; they battled back. For us to come out on top, it was huge for us."

Sunday got off to a promising start for the White Sox, who had seven baserunners against Justin Verlander in the first two innings and saw 66 pitches, including 20 foul balls (12 on two-strike counts). Verlander allowed two runs, including Todd Frazier's third home run in the past seven games, and left with groin tightness in the third inning.

Video: CWS@DET: Verlander exits game in the 3rd inning

"His groin just tightened up on him a little bit," Ausmus said. "We don't think it's anything major. We got a precautionary MRI, but we don't expect it to be anything major. We don't expect the MRI to show anything major."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Justin time: Tigers closer Justin Wilson allowed a walk and single to lead off the ninth, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Next up was Frazier, who'd homered and doubled already. Wilson got Frazier to pop out, then induced an inning-ending double play on a chopper up the middle to Dixon Machado.

Video: CWS@DET: Wilson induces double play to preserve tie

"I felt like if Justin Wilson could get through the top part of the inning, we had 2-3-4 [in the batting order] coming up," Ausmus said. "And you feel pretty good about those guys."

Taming the Tigers: The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on singles from Machado and Castellanos, and a walk issued by reliever Anthony Swarzak to Cabrera. Martinez grounded the next pitch to shortstop Tim Anderson to begin an inning-ending double play and keep the White Sox ahead by a 2-1 margin.

Video: CWS@DET: Swarzak induces inning-ending double play

"Not to belittle some of the little things we failed to do, but they've been grinding, and I'm very proud of the way they play and don't quit," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Take that to the bank and make no bones about it. They fight every single inning, every at-bat, every pitch. No matter what the score is, they keep fighting. I hope you see that."

QUOTABLE
"Hanging breaking ball. It sat in the middle of the zone and he hit it, I'm assuming, about 20 rows back. I didn't need to look. It was loud off the bat."
-- Robertson on the game-winning pitch Upton hit

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Martinez, who entered the game with the most barrels per batted ball event (25.5 percent), added another one on his fourth-inning home run, which traveled a projected 432 feet on a 27-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™.

Video: CWS@DET: J.D. Martinez crushes a solo homer to left

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
• With one on and one out in the the third, Tigers catcher John Hicks hit a sharp one-hopper to Anderson, who bobbled the ball but threw in time to nab Upton at second for a fielder's choice. Ausmus challenged the play, but the call stood after a review.

• Renteria challenged Castellanos' hit-by-pitch to open the ninth. After review, the call stood.

Video: CWS@DET: Castellanos' hit-by-pitch gets confirmed

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: Jose Quintana (2-7, 5.60) tries to get back on the right track Tuesday as he opens a three-game series against the Rays with a first pitch of 6:10 p.m. CT at Tropicana Field. Quintana has allowed 15 runs on 18 hits over his last seven innings covering two starts.

Tigers: After an off-day Monday, Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.47) will pitch on six days' rest when Detroit opens a three-game series at home against the Angels at 7:10 p.m. ET. His only career start against the Halos came May 13, when he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision.

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.