DETROIT -- JaCoby Jones' first Major League hit brought a Comerica Park crowd to its feet and his mom to tears. Jones' go-ahead RBI double in the sixth inning completed a comeback from a three-run deficit, sending the Tigers on their way to an 8-4 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday night.
The win kept Detroit a game behind Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card spot, and within 4 1/2 of Cleveland in the AL Central race.
Jones, called up from Triple-A Toledo earlier in the day to provide a jolt to a struggling Tigers offense, did just that in a four-run sixth inning after White Sox starter Anthony Ranaudo held them to two runs over the first five. After J.D. Martinez doubled and scored to tie the game, Jones slashed a line drive down the right-field line off Matt Albers (2-6) to score Justin Upton from second base and move Jarrod Saltalamacchia to third. Ian Kinsler, who hit a two-run homer in the previous inning, singled in two more runs as insurance.
Jones added another RBI in the seventh, singling home Upton after J.D. Martinez homered off former Tiger Jacob Turner. Bruce Rondón (5-2) earned the victory with a perfect sixth inning before Shane Greene recovered from back-to-back hits to retire his final six batters and protect the lead.
"We were able to tack on," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Kinsler's hit down the line, the home run by J.D., and of course JaCoby Jones' two hits were big."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frazier goes deep:Todd Frazier opened the scoring by hitting a two-run home run in the second inning. The homer, projected at 425 feet by Statcast™, snapped an 0-for-9 stretch for Frazier, spanning the previous three games. It was his 33rd homer of the season, but just his fourth of the month. Chicago tacked on a run later in the inning when Adam Eaton hit into a fielder's choice that drove in Omar Narváez.
"Honestly, that ball kind of slipped out of my hand when I was pulling it out of my glove, and it just stayed middle," Tigers starter Daniel Norris said. "It's kind of one of those funky things."
While Frazier's home run output has been down this month, he said he hadn't really noticed and was just ready to jump on a pitch Norris left in the zone.
"It was just a fastball," Frazier said. "When you get a fastball and it's over the plate, you go and get it. But I think the power has been there all year." More >
Kinsler connects: The Tigers struggled to square up Ranaudo's pitches for four innings. That included Kinsler, who flied out in each of his first two at-bats and fouled off four pitches in the fifth. After staying alive in the at-bat with three consecutive two-strike foul balls, Kinsler kept his drive in fair territory, sending a two-run homer over the Tigers' bullpen in left.
"His curveball was working tonight," Kinsler said of Ranaudo. "He was kind of erratic with his fastball enough to keep us off-balance with it, where we had to trust it at least. He was mixing in a changeup and a slider and he was throwing the ball well. It just took us a little while to kind of get going on him. But Daniel did a great job keeping us in that game."
First hit a big one: Jones bounced out and popped out in his first two Major League at-bats, leaving him trying to bunt runners over with two on and nobody out in the sixth. He bunted a pitch foul, but settled for a 1-2 slider over the plate, which he lined into the right-field corner for his first hit and first RBI. While he clapped his hands at second base on the double, his mom was crying in the stands.
"More relief, just getting it out of the way," Jones said. "Something I'll never forget, my first big league hit. It's just something you work hard for, to get here, and to get it on the first night, it's simply amazing." More >
Sox can't capitalize: The White Sox left the bases loaded in the fourth inning following hits from Avisaíl García and Narvaez, and an Eaton walk. Chicago again squandered a scoring opportunity in the seventh inning. While Eaton came around to score after hitting a leadoff hustle double, the White Sox left Tim Anderson standing on third base with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. The Sox left seven men on base on the night.
"It's been kind of the story of our year," Eaton said. "With runners in scoring position, we haven't been able to drive in and get the big hit. And when we do that, we win, and when we don't, usually it bites us."
"He's got a lot of things to work with. He's not scared, I know that. I don't think he's ever going to act like he's overmatched. He's got a lot of ability to do different things, so it's going to be fun to watch." -- Kinsler, on Jones
"You look at kind of the way the runs are scored, they seem to add on. [The Tigers] don't stop adding on that extra run. A guy on third, less than two outs, they're able to just get it in. That's kind of been an Achilles heel for us." -- Chicago manager Robin Ventura, on leaving runners on base
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to research on baseball-reference.com, Jones became the first Tiger to put up multiple hits and RBIs in his Major League debut since Hank Riebe, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs against the Philadelphia A's on Aug. 26, 1942. Riebe left baseball to serve in World War II the next year, earning two Purple Hearts.
White Sox:Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14) starts for the White Sox in the series finale at Detroit on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. CT. He took the loss Friday against the Mariners despite throwing a complete game, just as he did on Aug. 3, his previous start against the Tigers.
Tigers:Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33) is looking for his third straight win, and his second of the season against the White Sox on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts against Chicago on June 5 at Comerica Park.
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