DETROIT -- For Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, the sequel was much better than the original. Facing the White Sox for the second time in a week, Zimmermann allowed just one run in six innings as part of Detroit's 10-1 win Saturday at Comerica Park.With strong command of his slider, a
DETROIT -- For Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, the sequel was much better than the original. Facing the White Sox for the second time in a week, Zimmermann allowed just one run in six innings as part of Detroit's 10-1 win Saturday at Comerica Park.
With strong command of his slider, a pitch he said he didn't have any feel for when he allowed seven runs to Chicago during his last start, Zimmermann scattered seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
"It's probably my biggest pitch," Zimmermann said of his slider, which he threw for nine swinging strikes versus just six balls in play, according to Statcast™. "It's a pitch I can throw ahead in the count, behind in the count, strike lefties out, righties go away. Keeps them off my fastball. I didn't have it for the first two months, and you saw what happened then."
Chicago starter Miguel Gonzalez, who matched up with Zimmermann last Sunday and had a perfect game through six innings in that start, was roughed up for six earned runs on 10 hits in six innings. Gonzalez tied his season high in earned runs allowed, having also given up six to Detroit on April 30. Lasting as long as he did, however, offered relief for a bullpen that threw 5 2/3 innings in Friday's 15-5 loss.
"[White Sox manager Rick] Renteria told me to go out there and do what you do best. That's it," Gonzalez said. "And I was fortunate to go six. Yesterday was tough for the relievers, and today was a really big deal for me to go out and go six-plus. But from that point, that's really a positive. So, take that to the next outing."
Detroit powered its way to an early lead in the second inning, tagging Gonzalez with back-to-back home runs from Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Presley. It was the third time this season the Tigers have hit consecutive homers, including May 20 when they hit three in a row. Gonzalez then found a groove, retiring seven of the next eight batters he faced, before Presley singled to spark a two-out rally in the fourth. Jose Iglesias and Andrew Romine hit RBI singles before Alex Avila capped the four-run inning with his eighth homer of the season.
"We just needed to keep adding on, and we did," said bench coach Gene Lamont, who took over as Tigers manager when Brad Ausmus was ejected in the first. "A lot of times you think hitting is contagious, and hopefully it is."
"Really, that second inning, solo home runs aren't going to hurt you," Gonzalez said. "[I] just need to focus when I have runners on. That's about it. Can't change anything. Stay strong, and keep going."
Chicago scored its lone run in the sixth inning, when Todd Frazier doubled into the left-field corner to score Avisail Garcia, who had singled to open the frame.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally cats: After the Tigers took an early 2-0 lead, Gonzalez settled in and began to look like the pitcher he was against them six days ago. But then with two outs in the fourth, Presley singled and stole second, which led to run-scoring hits by Iglesias, Romine and Avila. The four-run burst was enough to keep Detroit ahead of Chicago for good.
Pitcher's best friend: The game was scoreless in the second when Garcia singled and Frazier drew a walk from Zimmermann. Matt Davidson hit the next pitch to third baseman Castellanos, who started an around-the-horn double play. Tim Anderson grounded out to strand the runner at third and keep the White Sox scoreless.
"On the offensive side, we didn't do a whole lot of damage," Renteria said. "Zimmermann did a nice job of making adjustments from his last outing against us. We made him work a little bit, but we weren't able to string anything together."
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"I told Brad, the replay thing has kind of taken away one of the … parts of the game, the arguments. Fans like the arguments, and it's kind of taken that away. So it was a good one today."
-- Lamont, on Ausmus' animated argument in the first inning
"Don't worry about it. It's your first outing. They'll get better from here."
-- Renteria, on his message to Brad Goldberg, after the right-hander retired one hitter among the five he faced and allowed four runs in his Major League debut in the eighth inning
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Gonzalez dropped to 1-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his last 11 road starts, dating back to July 30, 2016. He has a 1-6 record with a 6.64 ERA over his last seven starts overall this season.
Ausmus was ejected in the bottom of the first inning by first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth after Victor Martinez was called out on a close play at first base. Ausmus looked like he wanted to challenge the call, but appeared to not do so in time. He walked out to home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez before Culbreth joined the conversation. After an exchange that lasted nearly a minute, Ausmus received his 11th career ejection (first since Aug. 27).
"It's always good to see your manager fighting for your players, to know he has your back like that," Castellanos said. "You know, maybe it sparked something with us and we took off from there."
White Sox:David Holmberg (0-0, 2.51) makes his second start in place of the injured Dylan Covey after making eight relief appearances. Holmberg threw a season-high 72 pitches over four innings against the Red Sox, finishing with a no-decision in a game won by the White Sox. First pitch Sunday is set for 12:10 p.m. CT.
Tigers:Justin Verlander (4-4, 4.50) will oppose Holmberg in the 1:10 p.m. ET series finale. Verlander struck out 10 White Sox on Opening Day over 6 1/3 innings to get the win. He's 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA and .893 WHIP in four home starts this season.
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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.