CHICAGO -- If the White Sox consider themselves better than a team in Year 2 of a rebuild this season, then they will need more consistent bullpen work than what was on display during a 9-7 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Nate
CHICAGO -- If the White Sox consider themselves better than a team in Year 2 of a rebuild this season, then they will need more consistent bullpen work than what was on display during a 9-7 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Nate Jones, Joakim Soria, Gregory Infante and Aaron Bummer combined to allow six runs over the final three innings, ruining the South Siders' home opener on a blustery and snowy day in Chicago.
Soria, who had converted each of his first two saves in 2018, yielded three runs on four hits in the ninth, with Niko Goodrum's first career homer cutting a 7-4 lead to 7-6 and Victor Martinez's double to left scoring Nicholas Castellanos with the game-tying run. Both hits came with two outs.
"I felt my stuff was all right. I felt my stuff was in place," said Soria, who blew his first save since July 29, 2017, at Boston. "Obviously the home run is the one they hit hard, but the other ones they didn't hit the ball hard. And that's the reason -- it was in no man's land. If they hit it a little harder, we had the third out."
Added White Sox manager Rick Renteria: "Today we just fell a little short. I thought we had all the right pieces in the right places. It just didn't work out."
Jones gave up one run in the eighth and was bailed out of further trouble when third baseman Yolmer Sanchez turned Jose Iglesias' grounder into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second. Sanchez, who tripled twice and drove in three, grabbed the grounder on the in-between hop, stepped on third and threw to first.
Matt Davidson finished 2-for-3 with two walks, four runs scored and one RBI, while Avisail Garcia and Leury Garcia each added two hits. Those strong performances were pushed aside by the bullpen's struggles.
It's a tough loss overall, taking a three-run lead into the ninth and being one out away from victory. But it's one the White Sox want to move on from quickly.
"We came out banging the ball, but unfortunately, our back end of the bullpen didn't do their job tonight," said White Sox starter James Shields, who was in line for the win after giving up three runs over five innings. "Those guys are veterans and they're really good back there, and I know they're going to come back."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moncada misses: Even down to their final out in the 10th inning, the White Sox would not go quietly against Shane Greene. Omar Narvaez walked and pinch-hitter Nicky Delmonico was hit by a pitch, setting up Yoan Moncada as the game-winning run. But Moncada swung through two curves and a four-seam fastball for his fourth strikeout to finish an 0-for-6 showing. Moncada's average dropped to .154, with a team-high 11 strikeouts over 26 at-bats.
Letting one go: The boxscore and gamecast will credit Martinez with a game-tying, two-out double in the ninth off of Soria, but left fielder Leury Garcia helped the Tigers' cause. Martinez's slicing line drive down the line got past Garcia and rolled to the wall, allowing Castellanos to easily score from first. If Garcia keeps the ball in front of him, the tying run doesn't score on the play.
"There's not many times you pitch in the snow, and it was snowing pretty good for a few innings there. It was a tough day to pitch, tough day to play baseball in general. It's unfortunate." --Shields, on Thursday's weather conditions
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The White Sox initially had the forceout at second base on Martin's ground ball, but the Tigers challenged, arguing that Tim Anderson wasn't near second base when he received the throw from Moncada. After review, the ruling was overturned, and Iglesias was safe at second. The review led to a crucial add-on run when Jeimer Candelario singled in Iglesias three pitches later.
Anderson used his legs to manufacture a run in the second inning. Anderson opened with a single, then swiped second base to improve to 4-for-4 this season. He moved to third on Narvaez's grounder to second and scored on Adam Engel's sacrifice fly to center field. Anderson beat the throw from Leonys Martin with a head-first slide on a good send by third-base coach Nick Capra. According to Statcast™, based on Martin being in center, the shallowest edge of the "decision zone" for Anderson -- where he could consider running -- would be 255 feet. The fly ball was hit 250 feet. Anderson recorded a sprint speed of 31.0 feet per second (anything 30-plus is elite speed), going third to home in 3.61 seconds.
Shields became the first White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle in 2002 to start a season opener and home opener in the same season (on different days). Shields started and won the season opener in Kansas City.
Lucas Giolito takes the mound following Friday's off-day for a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday against the Tigers. Giolito admittedly did not have his best stuff last Saturday against the Royals, but he limited them to three runs over six innings.
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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.