A day after collecting 17 hits, the Chicago White Sox are held to 4 in 7-3 loss — but help could be on the way as soon as Sunday
Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Haseley raced back to track down Spencer Torkelson’s long fly ball.
Haseley jumped and almost made a spectacular catch. Instead it was a go-ahead RBI double for Torkelson.
The Detroit Tigers scored three runs in the seventh against reliever Joe Kelly to rally and beat the Sox 7-3 in front of 24,685 on Saturday at Comerica Park.
“Joe has been unhittable for three weeks-plus, so I was really happy with him being on the mound and I’ll be happy with him being on the mound tomorrow,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.
Kelly had been one of the more effective relievers in baseball recently, retiring 34 of the last 36 batters he faced coming into Saturday.
He entered with the Sox leading 3-2 after a two-out, three-run double by Gavin Sheets in the top of the seventh.
The Tigers tied it with one out in the seventh on a solo homer to right by Zach McKinstry. Riley Greene doubled and scored on Torkelson’s double that was just out of Haseley’s reach. Eric Haase knocked in Torkelson with a single.
“Got the first out quick, and left a changeup down in to McKinstry, then double-double, and jam base hit,” Grifol said. “He’s human, man.”
Zack Short provided insurance in the eighth for the Tigers with a two-run homer against Jimmy Lambert as the Sox dropped back to 10 under .500 (22-32) and six games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
It was a game filled with momentum swings.
Tigers starter Michael Lorenzen was the story early, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning.
Lorenzen retired the first 17 Sox batters before Romy Gonzalez singled to center with two outs in the sixth to break up the bid for perfection.
“He threw the ball really well,” Sheets said. “Faced him twice before and I thought his stuff (Saturday) was better than I’ve ever seen it. Credit to him. He came out and he made pitches and located very well. He had really good stuff.”
The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 6⅔ innings.
It was quite the contrast from Friday for the Sox, who had 17 hits in a 12-3 win against the Tigers.
“He moved the ball around, he had a little run on his fastball and he’s been pitching good,” Grifol said of Lorenzen. “He did a nice job out there.”
Gonzalez hit Lorenzen’s first-pitch slider back up the middle to end the chance at history.
The Sox were still only trailing 2-0 in the seventh, with starter Jesse Scholtens allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 4⅔ innings.
Andrew Benintendi began the seventh for the Sox with a walk and Yoán Moncada singled.
Andrew Vaughn popped out to the shortstop Short and Grandal struck out swinging in a 10-pitch at-bat. Jason Foley replaced Lorenzen and got Jake Burger to hit a grounder to second baseman Andy Ibáñez, who made a throwing error to load the bases.
“It was huge for Burger to get it to me,” Sheets said. “Busted his butt on that play and beat it out at first. The throw was a little wide, but if he doesn’t beat that out I don’t get an at-bat there. Huge on him.”
Sheets followed with the bases-clearing double against reliever Jason Foley.
“Foley has really good stuff,” Sheets said. “He pitched me in and left one out over the middle of the plate and I was able to do some damage.”
It was a short-lived lead as the Tigers roared back against Kelly.
Saturday highlighted some of the inconsistencies the Sox will have to overcome if they are going to dig out of the hole in the Central.
Friday, eight of their nine starters had at least one hit. Saturday, the team had four hits — singles by Gonzalez, Moncada and Vaughn and the double by Sheets.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Grifol said.
It’s the fourth time in the last six games the Sox didn’t tally more than four hits. They are 3-3 in that stretch.
More offensive help could be on the way sooner than originally anticipated.
Before Saturday’s game, Grifol indicated that outfielder/designated hitter Eloy Jiménez — on the injured list after undergoing an appendectomy May 6 — could be back for Sunday’s series finale.
The original projection for his return was four to six weeks.
Jiménez went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and three walks for Double-A Birmingham on Friday at the Tennessee Smokies. He entered Saturday 1-for-8 with four walks in three games during the rehab assignment with the Barons.
Elvis Andrus began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte Saturday. The second baseman went on the injured list on May 13 with a strained left oblique.
Grifol said Andrus would return “during probably the second series” of the homestand against the Tigers. That series begins Friday.