CHICAGO -- The White Sox began Sunday afternoon at risk of being swept in a four-game series against the Tigers. Instead, they ended the day with a series split thanks to two walk-off wins in a four-hour span. Melky Cabrera provided the latter with a single scoring Adam Eaton in the ninth, nullifying Detroit's three-homer rally in the top of the inning for a 5-4 White Sox win at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Baseball is funny like that," Eaton said. "It will beat you down, but then it will build you back up. It's a love-hate relationship, for sure. To have two walk-off wins, especially to get two wins off a great opponent like Detroit, and for them to be walk-offs, is huge for us."
After finishing their suspended game from Saturday night with a 4-3 victory on a walk-off single by Eaton, the White Sox picked up where they left off in the series finale but struggled to finish the job after 6 2/3 scoreless innings from José Quintana. Nick Castellanos, Tyler Collins and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit ninth-inning solo homers -- the latter two pinch-hit drives -- off closer David Robertson to tie it, 4-4.
The White Sox needed just three batters and seven pitches to come back and win it off Bruce Rondón (3-2). Eaton led off the ninth with a single and advanced to second on Tim Anderson's sacrifice bunt. Cabrera's single looked much like Eaton's earlier in the day, a ground ball through the left side.
"Obviously the leadoff walk is the big thing," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "You can't let the first guy get on with a walk."
Robertson (2-2) earned both wins on Sunday, albeit under vastly different circumstances, as he turned in a scoreless ninth in the conclusion of Saturday's game.
"I don't deserve the second one," Robertson said. "Jose Quintana pitched his tail off again, and I went out there and screwed it all up. Three two-strike home runs is ridiculous. It's absurd that I pitched that poorly. I need to pick it up. Tough day for me, personally, but I'm really glad for the team. We needed those wins today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tiger tamer: After Eaton delivered the walk-off hit in the first game, he singled and scored in the first inning of the finale and then hit a three-run homer in the second. His big day shouldn't have come as a surprise. The White Sox right fielder entered Sunday hitting .338 for his career against Detroit (53-for-157). After going 3-for-7 with a home run and four RBIs in the final two games of this series, he's now hitting .425 against the Tigers this season (17-for-40) with two walk-off hits.
"Even the way his foot's feeling, he just finds a way and continues to grind through it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Eaton. "I know he's not 100 percent, but for us, you see what he can do when he's in there, even being injured and hobbling around." More >
Off the bench, into the seats: Robertson had given up just three home runs all season before Castellanos' leadoff drive made it 4-2. After Robertson retired the next two batters, manager Brad Ausmus took his chance, bringing in Collins and Saltalamacchia to pinch-hit. Both were down to their last strike when they sent 1-2 pitches out to right field. It marked the first pair of pinch-hit homers in a game for the Tigers since Sept. 14, 2011, when Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila did it in this same ballpark. More >
Helping hand: Quintana didn't need much help to get through his day scoreless, but got a key out in the seventh off a great running catch by J.B. Shuck in right-center field. Castellanos drove the ball deep to the gap on Quintana's 113th pitch, but Shuck chased it down to negate an extra-base hit. He made a lunging, backhanded snag on the warning track before slamming into the chain-link fencing of the right-field wall in front of the Tigers' bullpen. More >
Upton, up and over: With a hot, humid afternoon and a breeze blowing out, José Abreu's third-inning loft looked like a second White Sox home run off Sanchez, convincing enough to set off the stadium fireworks. However, Justin Upton's reach over the fence kept the ball in for a highlight catch, his second such denial this season.
"I thought I had plenty of room. It just kept carrying," Upton said. "When I got the wall, I kind of knew where I was and I had to jump."
"We've got a tight-knit group of guys that really want to fight for each other, and to get the big hit and have everybody rush out there, especially with what we've had the past couple days … really the whole year's been a roller-coaster, on and off the field. So, it's just nice to be able to get those guys out there and finish if off with a win." -- Eaton, on the dual walk-offs
"It [stinks]. There's no way around it. We battled back both games but couldn't close it out." -- Castellanos, on two walk-off losses
Video: [email protected]: Ventura on Quintana's start, Eaton's hustle
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Robertson is the first Major League pitcher to earn two wins on the same day since Minnesota's Brian Duensing did it Aug. 9, 2013, against the White Sox.
Tigers: The road trip continues with a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, opening with Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.74 ERA) on the mound Monday in a 7:10 p.m. ET start. Verlander tossed eight innings of one-run ball at Boston last July, starting his second-half resurgence.
White Sox:Miguel González is scheduled to make his second career start against the Cubs on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field in the first of four games between the crosstown rivals this week. The home-and-home set will move to Wrigley Field Wednesday and Thursday. Gonzalez took the loss for the Orioles on Aug. 24, 2014, in his only other outing against the Cubs, yielding two runs in 6 1/3 innings at Wrigley Field.
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