Homers help Tigers turn tables on Giolito

Miggy belts No. 489 early; Goodrum hits go-ahead jack in decisive 7th

April 28th, 2021

knew the ball was gone as soon as he connected. His first few steps toward first base were halting, and his head was lifted high as he admired the handiwork behind career home run No. 489.

His second homer of 2021 -- along with an infield single in the sixth -- came against a pitcher who's plagued the Tigers over the years, and it was a most encouraging sign for a Detroit offense that has struggled mightily to plate runs over the past week.

But it was 's career homer No. 35 that Detroit will remember about Tuesday night. Goodrum’s go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh inning off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito turned the tide for good during a 5-2 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The victory ended a nine-game losing streak to Chicago.

“No one gave up,” said Tigers starter Jose Ureña, who earned his first win of the year with seven strong frames. “Everyone was focused on the game and trying to execute.”

Entering the series opener, Detroit had managed to hit just .223 off Giolito in nine career games. Cabrera’s first-inning homer proved the talented righty could be cracked and might have set the tone early, had Giolito not recovered to retire 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced.

In the meantime, five Tigers errors allowed the White Sox to take a 2-1 lead after three innings and looked to spoil what, for the most part, was a stellar performance from Ureña. The right-hander worked hard to keep the ball on the ground, limiting Chicago to one earned run on seven hits.

“[Ureña’s] mental toughness stood out, because he never let the errors behind him, some of the non-plays get to him,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He just kind of hung in there, would make a better pitch, and then we would turn the double play.”

And just when it seemed as though Ureña’s start would go for naught, Detroit turned up the heat on Giolito. Willi Castro walked to open the seventh, then came home on a one-out double from Wilson Ramos to tie the game at 2.

The ensuing mound visit from White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz did nothing to soothe Giolito, who could do nothing but watch in dismay as Goodrum took the first pitch he saw and parked it in the visitor’s bullpen for his third home run of the season.

The situation unfolded much like the last time Detroit found success against Giolito, on Sept. 11, 2020, when the Tigers pounced late, scoring three in the sixth inning.

Jonathan Schoop rounded out Detroit’s scoring with his second homer of the season, a solo shot in the eighth that provided a little breathing room.

“Ureña kept us in the game. Regardless of the [errors] that happened, he had our back,” Schoop said. “Sometimes, we make a play for him. And today, things happened, and he kept us in the game and kept us battling, and he gave us ground balls to get out of the inning.”

Tuesday’s victory -- and the five runs that came with it -- also marked a welcome relief to a Tigers offense that had scored just nine total runs during its 1-6 stretch heading into the current series.

Cabrera’s powerful homer left his bat at 110.2 mph and traveled a Statcast-projected 445 feet. Prior to Tuesday, he had just two hits -- both singles -- in 15 career plate appearances against Giolito.

The early homer certainly buoyed Ureña, who pounded the zone and showed great movement on his slider, including a 28-inch vertical break that White Sox Silver Slugger Award winner Tim Anderson waved at and missed -- badly -- in the second inning.

Ureña also became the first Tigers starter to go seven innings in three consecutive starts since Jordan Zimmermann did the same in August 2017.

“Obviously, our team needed a win in any way,” Hinch said. “It wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be if you stay in the fight and continue to throw punches when you can. We added, obviously, a really big seventh inning, but we don’t get to that point if Ureña doesn’t manage the game the way that he did and manage his emotions, and stay in the strike zone. It was a job well done.”