After brush with history, Tigers settle for walk-off win
Detroit — Rajai Davis raised an interesting point.
“I was thinking, if we do accomplish this no-hitter, who do we celebrate with?” Davis said. “I mean, where do we start? Do we start with the starter or do we start with the relievers? I don’t know.”
The answer Tuesday was, start with himself. Davis found himself on the bottom of the celebratory dog pile after his two-out, 10th inning triple scored Anthony Gose from first giving the Tigers a “near-historic” 2-1 win over the White Sox.
BOX SCORE: Tigers 2, White Sox 1 (10 innings)
“I learned something tonight,” Ian Kinsler joked. “I learned that if you hit a walk-off double and you keep running to third, they’ll give you a triple.”
“He learned how to hit a walk-off triple,” he said. “You’ve got to start low-flying around them bases.”
It was good to see the smiles in the clubhouse, especially after the Tigers came within two outs of achieving the first combined no-hitter in franchise history.
“I don’t know how many people actually knew it was going on, but I know nobody was talking about it,” catcher James McCann said.
On the same day the Tigers sent closer Bruce Rondon home for the rest of the season, Neftali Feliz was summoned in the ninth inning to preserve a 1-0 lead and the first combined no-hitter in team history.
He did neither.
Tyler Saladino rapped a one-out triple to center field and scored on a single by Adam Eaton. Feliz got out of the inning with the score tied, but heard the boos on his way off the field.
Davis’ drive off reliever Zach Duke turned the jeers to cheers. Duke had been summoned with two outs to face left-handed hitting Anthony Gose and walked him.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura stayed with Duke against the right-handed hitting Davis.
“He’s pretty good,” Davis said. “He’s got good stuff. Actually it wasn’t a bad pitch, a 3-1 two-seamer away. If you’re pulling off the ball, you are going to roll over. I was able to stay on it.”
The night’s drama started with 22-year-old rookie Daniel Norris, who was making his second start after returning from an oblique strain. He pitched five perfect innings, and then had to leave.
His prescribed pitch ceiling was 65 pitches. He was at 63 after the fifth.
“I was prepared for it,” Norris said. “When (manager Brad Ausmus) told me I was coming out, there was no argument.”
And there was no second-guessing by Ausmus, either.
“There was never a doubt whether he was coming out of the game or not,” he said. “We said before the game, 60-65 pitches, and I think he ended up right around there. He did an excellent job.
“Had he not been on the DL, and was built up (in) arm strength, then obviously we’d leave him out there. But the decision was made.”
But the no-hit tension did not go away.
Buck Farmer took over in the sixth and worked a 1-2-3 inning. Ian Krol hit Eaton with his second pitch leading off the seventh to mar the perfection, but he kept the no-hitter intact.
“I was a little disappointed, but you just have to roll with it, roll with the punches, do what you can, execute and make pitches,” Krol said. “It would’ve been cool to be part of Tigers history like that. Would’ve been sweet.”
Drew VerHagen set the White Sox down in order in the eighth, with one close call. Alexei Ramirez was originally ruled safe at first on a high throw by third baseman Nick Castellanos. It would have been ruled an error, but the call was changed after review.
But, alas it was not to be. The Tigers have now taken no-hitters into the eighth inning three times (Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander). This is the first one blown by a reliever.
“It would have been pretty cool,” Norris said. “But at the same time, I mean, Neftali gave up the hit, but we’re sitting there watching and we’re like, ‘This guy is getting back to the way he was in Texas.’ He’s was up to 99 mph with a really good slider.
“It’s tough that he gave up the hit, but sitting there with (Randy) Wolf and (Matt) Boyd, it was encouraging. He looked really good.”
Norris wasn’t sure of the history until afterward.
“A combined no-hitter is one of those weird things,” he said. “It’d be easy to not realize it was happening.”