Cabrera lifts Tigers to 4-3 win over White Sox
DETROIT — David Price walked off the mound Tuesday night wondering if he had just blown the AL Central title for his new team.
It didn’t take long for his team to improve his mood.
After Price blew a 3-0 lead in the top of the ninth, the Detroit Tigers only needed three batters to pull out a 4-3 victory and hold on to their one-game lead in the division.
With the score tied 3-3, Ian Kinsler led off the ninth with a single, took second when Jake Petricka (1-6) walked Torii Hunter and scored when Miguel Cabrera lined a base hit to left field.
“I went into the top of the ninth knowing that I had to finish it off,” Price said. “I didn’t care if I gave up two runs, but I couldn’t give up three. I’m just glad that our offense saved me.”
Hunter agreed that the offense wanted to make a statement and pick up Price.
“When you’ve got a 3-0 lead in the top of the ninth and David Price on the mound, you think the game is over,” he said. “But then they tie it, and we had to go right back out there and win it. Kins did a great job, I had a good at-bat to draw the walk and then Miggy did what Miggy does.”
For most of the night, it looked like Price was going to show exactly why the Tigers had traded for him at the deadline, taking a three-hit shutout into the ninth. Adam Eaton singled and moved to third on Alexei Ramirez’s double. That got Joe Nathan up in the pen, and after Jose Abreu struck out, Avisail Garcia lined a two-run single to center.
Brad Ausmus visited the mound, drawing boos from the crowd, but he left Price in.
Dayan Viciedo flew out to right for the second out, and Paul Konerko, who was honored by the Tigers before the game, singled to move Garcia to third. Marcus Semien then blooped a single to center, tying the game.
“With the way David was pitching, it didn’t look too good for us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We got it to the bottom of the ninth, but first and second with no one out for Miggy isn’t a great situation, either.”
Nathan (5-4) came in to get the final out, and picked up the victory after Petricka couldn’t get an out in the bottom of the inning.
White Sox rookie Scott Carroll allowed two runs — one earned — in six-plus innings. He gave up five hits and two walks while striking out four.
Chicago almost broke a scoreless tie in the fifth, as Josh Phegley hit Price’s 3-2 pitch to the wall in left, but J.D. Martinez had plenty of time to set himself at the wall and reach up to make the catch to rob a home run. Price broke into a wry smile as he watched Martinez make the play.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Rajai Davis singled, and was running on the pitch when Kinsler hit what would have otherwise been an easy double-play ball. Now in scoring position, Davis stole third and scored when Phegley’s throw trickled past Marcus Semien and into left.
Detroit used more speed to get a run in the seventh, as pinch-runner Andrew Romine was able to go from first to third on Semien’s error, and score on Kinsler’s single. Hunter followed with a ground-rule double to make it 3-0.
White Sox: Eaton returned to the lineup after missing two games to deal with a personal matter. He led off against Price. … With the White Sox out of the race, LHP Chris Sale will make his final start of the season on Wednesday instead of starting Tuesday and Sunday on normal rest. Ventura said that with Sale having been injured earlier this year, it made sense to ease him into the offseason.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez (pectoral strain) was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday’s game, and will finish the season pitching out of the bullpen. Ausmus said, because of Sanchez’s outstanding pitch selection, he plans to use him in high-leverage situations.
The teams finish the three-game series Wednesday afternoon with Sale (12-4, 2.20) facing Justin Verlander (14-12, 4.68) in each pitcher’s last start of the regular season.
Before the game, the Tigers honored Konerko by presenting him with a framed box containing a first-base bag, a jar of dirt from the right-handed batter’s box and a list of his accomplishments at Comerica Park. He leads all visiting players in hits, runs, total bases and RBIs since the stadium opened in 2000, and trails David Ortiz by one home run.
NO ROOKIE JITTERS
Carroll said that he had a great time pitching in a pennant race, even if it wasn’t his team that is in contention.
“That’s certainly as close to a playoff game as I’ve ever come,” he said. “It was really cool.”
*Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Paul Sancya