CHICAGO -- Miguel González's first start since Aug. 11 not only helped his current White Sox team, but it also lent a helping hand to his previous Orioles squad.
The right-hander hurled 6 1/3 innings of six-hit ball in his return from the disabled list due to a right groin strain, shutting down the Tigers in a 2-0 victory at a muggy U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night. Baltimore cruised past the Rays, 11-2, and grabbed sole possession of the second American League Wild Card, with the Tigers falling one game back.
Gonzalez allowed six hits and struck out four, pitching out of jams in the third and the fourth. Miguel Cabrera singled and Victor Martinez singled when left fielder Melky Cabrera lost the ball in the lights to open the fourth, but Gonzalez struck out J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton and retired Casey McGehee on a routine fly ball.
"I think the most important thing is trying not to do too much when you're out there," Gonzalez said. "It's been awhile since I've gotten off the mound and pitched a real game. Being able to control that and make my pitches was the biggest thing tonight."
• Gonzalez, Sox not about to throw in towel
J.D. Martinez and McGehee singled with one out in the seventh, ending Gonzalez's night at 91 pitches. Dan Jennings entered and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia on four pitches to load the bases and threw his first two pitches out of the zone to pinch-hitter JaCoby Jones. But Jennings fired the next three pitches past Jones, and Nate Jones struck out Cameron Maybin to end the threat after replacing Jennings.
Matt Boyd was sharp for the Tigers, allowing two runs on eight hits over seven innings. José Abreu's home run and Omar Narváez's single to score Jason Coats served as the White Sox offense.
"Pitching was the story, really," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "Both starting pitchers did a nice job. Gonzalez was able to keep us at bay today. We just couldn't do much against him, and then the guys came out of the bullpen and did the same."
The White Sox improved to 66-72, as they once again avoided a season low-water mark of eight under .500.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Another day, another long ball: Abreu's solo home run leading off the second was his 23rd and his team-high 87th RBI. Abreu has reached base safely in 32 of his past 33 games, knocking out 12 homers and driving in 31 during that time.
Atta Boyd: The rookie lefty was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, after being optioned there as a procedural move following his last start Aug. 29,a four-inning no-decision in Detroit's 4-3 win against the White Sox at Comerica Park. The Tigers' rotation could soon be in flux with the pending return of Jordan Zimmermann from the 15-day disabled list Saturday against the Orioles. Boyd, who could potentially be a candidate for the bullpen, made a strong case for why he should remain in the rotation by recording his fifth quality start.
"It means a lot," Boyd said. "The goal is always to get as deep as you can and keep your team in position to win. That bullpen works hard for us, so anytime you can get deep and shorten the innings up for them, too, that's huge." More >
Love the glove:Tim Anderson denied the Tigers a chance to start a second-inning rally with a great defensive play moving to his right on McGehee's grounder with Upton on first. Anderson gloved the ball in short left field and made a great throw across his body to first, getting McGehee to end the frame. Anderson put together the same sort of spectacular play in the ninth against J.D. Martinez, but Martinez barely beat the throw to first.
"Really his range has expanded and you're starting to understand hitters and you're seeing hitters and that's part of his development," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Anderson. "His recall of seeing guys over and over again and how guys are pitching and where he's playing, he understands that a little bit better as he goes around the league.
"You're just starting to see a guy improve with the knowledge he's getting. It's not necessarily the numbers knowledge, it's the baseball knowledge. His timing is better. It's that baseball clock he's starting to understand."
Double trouble: Trailing 1-0 with one out in the third, the Tigers had runners at first and second with the top of their order facing Gonzalez. The potential rally never materialized because of a baserunning gaffe by Maybin, who was doubled off first after former Tiger Avisaíl García caught José Iglesias' soft liner in right field.
"You don't know what the impact of that play is, because you don't know what happens next," Ausmus said. "Obviously, you want to get [Miguel Cabrera] to the plate. It was kind of a tough read, a soft liner. Cam might've been caught in-between. If it does fall in front of Garcia, then he might get thrown out at second anyway."
Iglesias and Garcia were key components of a three-way trade in 2013 among the Tigers, White Sox and Red Sox, who received Jake Peavy in the deal.
"It was foul. I saw it. I knew it immediately. I was like, I need one instant replay to go my way for once and it finally did." -- White Sox closer David Robertson, on J.D. Martinez's near home run after a crew chief review
"It didn't get away. They beat us. They're out there trying to win a ballgame just like we are, and we aren't going to win every night. And we understand that." -- Upton
Nate Jones has sole possession of second place on the White Sox single-season holds mark, as he picked up his 27th. Jones has allowed one hit over 4 1/3 innings in four September games, with nine strikeouts and no walks.
LET'S GO TO THE REPLAY
J.D. Martinez hit what was ruled a foul ball on a long drive down the left-field line leading off the ninth inning against Robertson. The umpires went to the video via a crew chief review and the call stood as foul, missing a home run by inches. Martinez reached two pitches later on an infield single.
"I thought it was foul," Ausmus said. "When I saw the closeup up there [on the video board], I couldn't tell if it scraped the pole or not. It was a lot closer than I thought it was."
"Nobody said anything. That's what was scary," Robertson said. "He kept running around the bases and I was like, 'Please, don't let it be a home run.' It was foul. I could see it."
Tigers:Aníbal Sánchez could be making one of his final starts this season Wednesday against the White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET. Sanchez, a possible candidate for a relief role, is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA against the White Sox this season in four appearances (two starts).
White Sox:José Quintana, who starts Wednesday's 1:10 p.m. CT rubber game against Detroit at U.S. Cellular Field, suffered the loss in his last start at Minnesota after working five innings and allowing seven runs on seven hits and eight strikeouts. He allowed seven or more runs for the first time since April 19, 2015 (four innings, nine runs).
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