Prior to the trade deadline, the Detroit Tigers aren't making the statement they need. Hitting and relief pitching were trouble spots again, as the Chicago White Sox broke open a close game and pounded away an 11-4 win.
Owners of a solid batting average at home, the Tigers wasted no time proving it, socking five hits in the first two innings off Jose Quintana. J.D. Martinez tripled home Torii Hunter to get things started. Martinez later scored on a Bryan Holaday sacrifice fly and it was 2-0.
Anibal Sanchez kept the White Sox off the board until the fourth. A mistake by Eugenio Suarez allowed the inning to continue, and Conor Gillaspie singled to draw the White Sox within one run. Gordon Beckham tied the score with a sacrifice fly one batter later.
After the early charge, Detroit's offense didn't get anything done against Quintana in the middle innings, save for a few hits. Sanchez continued to dance around trouble, but sloppy defense continued to do him in, most notably in the seventh, when Tyler Flowers singled with runners on and a run scored thanks to an error by Rajai Davis.
When newcomer Joakim Soria entered, things didn't get any better. Alexei Ramirez cleared the bases with a double, Jose Abreu clobbered a home run to left field and Adam Dunn followed suit to right. When the dust settled and Soria departed, it was 9-2 White Sox.
Chicago added two more in the eighth off a double by Abreu, and the Tigers scored one in the bottom of the eighth to make it 11-4. Every significant bit of damage was done in the seventh, though, and that was the inning that cost Detroit most in the loss.
Top Tiger: None. Detroit's pitching was bad, and the hitting didn't produce runs. "We got our hits tonight, we just didn't score runs," Brad Ausmus said, saying that variable had to change because the team was good offensively. Either way, nobody gets top Tiger honors on a messy night.
Bungling Bengal: Joakim Soria. Nothing Soria threw the White Sox tonight was hit softly. From the first single which greeted him, to the loud home runs in the middle, everything was clobbered. It was the second rough outing in a row for Detroit's big addition, adding to the frustration of the evening.
The Turning Point: Rajai Davis's error allows White Sox to take the lead. Davis rushed on the ball in Chicago's giant seventh inning, and as a result, allowed the White Sox to take the lead. The mistake would prove even more costly, as the runs continued to score later on and the game spiraled out of control. The mistake extended the inning, helping tonight's other shoe to drop.
Play Of The Game: Rajai Davis and Andrew Romine converge on a foul ball in the ninth, with neither making a play. If it was one event which summed up the night as a whole defensively, it was the chase for a foul ball in the ninth. Both players converged down the line, but the ball bounced in foul territory between them. Afterwards, the manager wasn't willing to blame the defense for the mess exclusively. "Just the whole inning, it was a combination of factors," Ausmus said. Still, it was a tough, disinterested effort at times for Detroit.
Stat Of The Game: 2, the number of home runs Joakim Soria allowed. Prior to this outing, Soria hadn't allowed any in 33 innings pitched. Dramatically, that changed, as Abreu and Dunn unloaded. It was probably unfair to expect Soria to keep throwing zeros up on the board without allowing home runs of any kind, but every ball, including his first two of the season that left the yard, were crushed.
Quote To Note: "We certainly haven't seen the real Joakim Soria" –Brad Ausmus. The skipper noted that he wasn't going to judge Soria by one outing, and said the reliever has been having a great year and is a consistent closer. "They're good pitchers," Ausmus said of his bullpen, noting the Tigers' hurlers that have closing experience and can get big outs at the back of the bullpen.
What's Next: The Tigers do battle with the White Sox again tomorrow night, Sending Max Scherzer (12-3) to the hill. He'll be opposed by Hector Noesi (5-6). The game begins at 7:08 p.m.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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Tags: Adam Dunn, Anibal Sanchez, Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Eugenio Suarez, Joakim Soria, Jose Abreu, Jose Quintana, MLB, Rajai Davis