Tigers take second set vs. Sox: 'A good look'

September 21st, 2021

DETROIT -- The Tigers and White Sox took the field in a foggy mist Tuesday afternoon just trying to play enough innings for an official game before the forecast of rain arrived. Much of Detroit’s skyline was shrouded in clouds, even the towering Renaissance Center down the street. By the time stepped to the plate with two outs and the go-ahead run on third base in the seventh inning, the sun was making an unexpected appearance.

Maybe the clearing skies were fitting. As Goodrum lined a go-ahead single into right field, spearheading a three-run seventh inning for a 5-3 win, the Tigers seemed further removed from their dreary struggles against the White Sox over the past 2 1/2 seasons.

Detroit’s second late-inning win over Chicago in just under 24 hours -- and its fourth victory in their last five meetings since July -- does nothing to change this year’s race, other than delaying the South Siders’ march to an American League Central title. But it should help the Tigers’ confidence going into next year, when expectations will be raised. Contending in the same division as the White Sox isn’t looking quite as crazy as it might have been a few months ago, when they had won 17 of 20 matchups since the start of last season.

“Thank God we have been playing very well against them,” said , whose 10th career four-hit game paced the Tigers’ 16-hit attack. “... Every day is different for us, so we get ready for winning and taking advantage of every single day.”

Whether the Tigers will get a chance to take advantage of another turn in the weather Wednesday and try for their first three-game sweep of the White Sox since mid-June 2018 remains to be seen. The forecast was enough of a concern that Tuesday’s game was moved up from an evening start to a midday matinee.

Starters Tyler Alexander and Dallas Keuchel overcame 19 combined hits to deliver five innings of two-run ball each. delivered a pair of RBI singles in lefty-lefty matchups in consecutive innings, but the Tigers missed chances to take command from there, stranding the bases loaded in the fourth, leaving two on in the fifth and then watching Tim Anderson retire Reyes at the plate with an off-balance throw home for the first out of the sixth.

The seventh inning seemed headed for the same fate after Jace Fry recovered from back-to-back singles by Robbie Grossman and Jeimer Candelario by inducing a double-play grounder from Eric Haase. Up came Goodrum, who had hit ground-ball singles against Fry in their only meetings in 2019 and ‘20.

This time, it was a line drive to the opposite field. Back-to-back walks from Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes loaded the bases for Reyes, whose opposite-field ground ball through the right side provided insurance runs off Aaron Bummer -- tallies that proved important after Anderson’s RBI single in the eighth set up a potential rally off Detroit closer .

Eloy Jiménez’s two-out single and Yoán Moncada’s walk out of an 0-2 count put the tying run on base in the ninth for Leury García, who was 4-for-13 with six RBIs off Fulmer for his career.

Between Moncada’s walk and a 3-0 count to Garcia, Fulmer threw seven consecutive balls. A pitch away from loading the bases, Fulmer challenged Garcia with three consecutive fastballs in the zone. Garcia took the first two, then swung and missed at a 97 mph heater to end it.

“Today was a really weird game,” said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch. “Both teams left double-digit guys on base, both teams found a lot of hits, had a hard time pushing runs across until the end, and we came out with the big hit.”

That the Tigers continue to do so against contending teams is helping to change their mindset. They’ve won nine of their last 12 games, with eight of those victories coming against the White Sox, Rays and Brewers -- all division leaders.

The wins against the expected AL Central champions arguably mean a little more going into next year.

“It’s a good sign,” said Daz Cameron, whose three-hit game matched his hit total off left-handed pitchers in 33 previous at-bats this season. “It’s a good look for us out there. Obviously, we’ve put in the work. We’re executing the things that we’ve been working on and making sure that we practice the situational parts of the game so that when they come up, we’re ready to execute them.”