Chicago — The Tigers appeared a little sleepy early on Sunday.
In the fateful bottom of the ninth inning in the suspended game, shortstop Jose Iglesias and second baseman Ian Kinsler had a rare communication lapse, and it led to the winning run.
With the score tied at 3, Avisail Garcia led off against Justin Wilson with an infield single. Garcia then stole second base easily, even though he appeared to get a slow jump off first, because neither Iglesias nor Kinsler covered the bag.
Manager Brad Ausmus said he thought it was a hit-and-run play and his middle infielders froze on the swing, causing them to be late to the bag.
“It’s not like they weren’t paying attention,” Ausmus said. “It’s just they broke to cover and saw the swing and then had to hold their ground in case the ball was hit at them. And then as a result they ended up being late to the bag.”
Iglesias said that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t think it was a hit and run,” Iglesias said. “It was a miscommunication and I didn’t cover the bag, that’s all. We didn’t have communication.”
Bad time for it. Wilson got the next two hitters out, but Adam Eaton smashed the 3-2 pitch into left field for the winner.
The Tigers bullpen was extremely stingy in this series — except for the ninth inning.
Kyle Ryan, Alex Wilson, Justin Wilson and Francisco Rodriguez pitched four scoreless innings on Thursday. Alex Wilson, Bruce Rondon and Shane Greene pitched 3 2/3 no-hit innings Saturday night before that game was suspended.
And on Sunday, Mark Lowe and Ryan pitched two more scoreless innings (1 1/3 by Ryan).
But Justin Wilson and Rondon game up winning hits Sunday in the two ninth innings.
About Wilson, who gave up the winning single to left-handed hitting Adam Eaton, Ausmus was asked if he considered walking him with rookie right-handed hitting Tim Anderson on deck.
“No,” he said, flatly.
About Rondon, Ausmus was asked if he considered Greene or Rodriguez instead.
“Greene had been up five out of six days and six out of eight,” he said. “And Justin Wilson just pitched (in the suspended game), 18 pitches, Alex Wilson pitched two days in a row, back-to-back, 1 1/3 innings yesterday.
“I’m not going to use K-Rod. We’re going to need him to close the game on the road, so in my mind, Rondon was our best shot.”
Justin Upton took a home run away from Jose Abreu in the third inning, and in the process completely fooled the stadium operations folks at U.S. Cellular Field.
Upton leaped and reached over the fence in left to bring back Abreu’s home run bid. He took his time throwing the ball back in, which caused the scoreboard operator to activated the home run pyrotechnics.
“They jumped the gun a little bit on that, huh?” he said. “There was no doubt (that he had it). I had plenty of room, I knew where the wall was and I was able get up and catch it. I was 100-percent sure. I had already caught the ball. It was in my glove. There was no need to rush and get it back to the infield.”
Around the horn
Anibal Sanchez gave up 10 hits and four runs, but kept the White Sox off the board after the second inning. Ausmus said no decision has been made on whether he would get another start. “They are going to make the best decision to help the team win,” Sanchez said. “I don’t control that decision.”
… Jordan Zimmermann made his first rehab start for Toledo Sunday in Norfolk. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing four hits. He threw 50 pitches, 38 for strikes. He will most likely have to make one more rehab outing to build his pitch count.
… Tyler Collins and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the first Tigers pinch-hitters to hit back-to-back home runs since Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila did it in September of 2011, also in Chicago.