Bassitt brings his own crowd to Comerica Park
Detroit — There was a fairly good-sized group of people standing and applauding White Sox pitcher Chris Bassitt as he left the game Monday after blanking the Tigers over 72/3 innings.
It seemed an odd reaction from a Comerica Park crowd on a night the home team lost 2-0 and had its lead in the AL Central cut in half. But there were at least 100 people in the crowd from Bassitt's hometown, Curtis, Ohio, just outside of Toledo, and he gave them plenty to stand and cheer about.
"It means a lot," he said after earning his first major league victory in just his fourth start. "The first one (win) always means a lot. But being so close to home and being in front of all of my friends and family makes it the best."
The Tigers beat him up pretty good — five runs on seven hits — on Aug. 30. They couldn't touch him Monday.
"My curveball kind of went away a little bit, so I'm throwing my change-up a lot more than I usually do," he said.
He was being modest. He was throwing three different speeds on his slow stuff, and mixing in a fastball that was at 92 mph most of the night, but zoomed up to 94 to get a big strikeout of Alex Avila in the sixth.
"He mixed pitches well; I just feel like we missed a lot of balls," said J.D. Martinez, who was 0-for-4, leaving a runner at second base three times. "A lot of balls were hit hard. That was pretty much it.
"He throws hard, he throws 93. It isn't like he throws slow. But he throws a lot of his off-speed. It's fine, a lot of guys are like that. Just one of those nights, I guess."
Bassitt's gem upstaged a strong outing from Tigers rookie Kyle Lobstein, whose only mistake, a first-pitch fastball to Tyler Flowers, was deposited into the bullpen in left-center field.
"They both pitched well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I mean these are two guys who were in the minor leagues last year. You probably wouldn't have predicted this, but that's what happened tonight. Sometimes that happens in baseball."
Lobstein gave up three consecutive two-out hits in the second inning, including Flowers' blast. But after a visit from pitching coach Jeff Jones, he retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced through the seventh inning.
"I felt a little rusty the first couple of innings," Lobstein said. "Had a couple days off. But overall felt pretty strong with the outing. ... Unfortunately, their starting pitcher had a great game, and you've got to tip your cap to him.
"But we're still playing good ball right now, and we're in it right now. We just have to keep doing what we're doing. Obviously we can't win every game of the season. Just put this one behind us, and get back after it tomorrow."
As for Bassitt, he might have a score to settle with some of his friends — who would otherwise have been rooting for the Tigers.
"Yeah," he said, "some friends told me they were hoping for a no-decision win for them."