DETROIT -- The Tigers simply outslugged the White Sox in the first two games of their series at Comerica Park this past weekend. But on Sunday, they used astute baserunning to set up a 7-4 walk-off win.Trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth, Detroit opened with a leadoff single
DETROIT -- The Tigers simply outslugged the White Sox in the first two games of their series at Comerica Park this past weekend. But on Sunday, they used astute baserunning to set up a 7-4 walk-off win.
Trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth, Detroit opened with a leadoff single by Justin Upton, who later sprinted to third on an errant pickoff throw. Then John Hicks doubled to left-center, stole third and scored two batters later on a grounder that rolled under the glove of Chicago second baseman Yolmer Sanchez. On that same play, Andrew Romine went from first to third.
Jose Iglesias, the next batter, grounded into a potential double play, but he beat the throw at first to allow Romine to score and keep the inning alive.
"Some of the things we did on the bases are huge for us," Upton said. "Hicks took an extra base today, guys going first to third on base hits. Those are things that win ballgames that get overlooked."
Hicks' steal, his first in 13 games this year, was set up by pinch-hitter Alex Presley attempting a sacrifice bunt. Presley fouled off the first pitch and Hicks noticed that third baseman Todd Frazier was moving up for the bunt with no one covering the bag. Hicks made the choice himself to take the base on the next pitch.
The Tigers had another small-ball play in the works in the eighth, when Romine led off with a single. This time, Presley got the sac bunt down right away to advance Romine, who then stole third. The game remained even at 4-4, however, because Iglesias and Dixon Machado both flied out to end the inning.
Of course, the powerful middle of Detroit's lineup could no longer be held down in the ninth, as Upton mashed a hanging knuckle curve over the wall in left to give the Tigers the win. But that doesn't take away from the team's heads-up play on the bases, featuring two stolen bases and a sac bunt, despite the fact Detroit entered the game with just five sacrifice hits in 55 games this season. The Tigers also played error-free in the field.
"We played the game the right way today and we got rewarded for it," Upton said.
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.