Chicago – Waited 14 hours for this?
The Tigers didn’t exactly get started on time Sunday in the suspended portion of the game that was thrice rain-delayed Saturday night, losing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth.
Avisail Garcia led off the bottom of the ninth against Justin Wilson with an infield single – a swinging bunt that spun and stayed fair down the third base line. Garcia then was able to easily steal second base when neither Jose Iglesias nor Ian Kinsler covered the bag.
Wilson got Dioner Navarro to pop up his bunt attempt and J.B. Shuck to ground out to second.
But Wilson fell behind Adam Eaton 2-0 and then 3-2. Eaton smashed the 3-2 pitch into left field for the walk-off winner.
Here’s what got the game to this point Saturday night.
The White Sox carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, thanks to a two-out, fourth-inning home run by Garcia off Matt Boyd.
Credit the Tigers bullpen for keeping it a one-run game. After throwing four scoreless innings Friday, Alex Wilson, Bruce Rondon and Shane Greene combined to throw 3.2 innings of no-hit relief Friday. A hit batsman by Rondon was the only base runner.
The Tigers tied it in the eighth on a clutch, two-strike RBI single by Nick Castellanos.
For the fourth time this series, White Sox manager Robin Ventura walked Victor Martinez intentionally with a runner on second base. Castellanos was 0-for-2 with a walk the other three times.
This time he slapped a single to center off Nate Jones, the fifth White Sox reliever, which scored Cameron Maybin from second. Maybin reached on an error by Jones and stole second, his second steal of the game.
It was a 3-3 game after eight innings when the rains came down hard for the third time.
The start of the game was delayed 10 minutes. It was delayed for an hour and 14 minutes after the second inning.
It started raining again in the bottom of the eighth and was delayed for a third time before the Tigers could bat in the ninth.
Finally, at 11:07 p.m. local time, the game was suspended.
All-Star left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start the game for the White Sox, but he was sent home and ultimately suspended for five days after a bizarre incident in the clubhouse.
Angry about having to wear throwback jerseys from 1976, even though the promotion was on the schedule all year, he apparently took a knife and cut them all up while the White Sox were taking batting practice before the game.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Saturday said Sale was suspended for “violating team rules, insubordination and destroying team equipment.”
But the incident left manager Robin Ventura in a bind. His bullpen had pitched 5.2 innings the night before, and the same set of relievers now had to get through another nine full innings.
The Tigers, though, didn’t fully exploit the White Sox dysfunction, managing just single runs in the first, sixth and eighth innings, two of which were unearned. The one earned run was produced by Justin Upton, who hit his 11th home run of the season in the sixth inning, a laser shot with 110 mph velocity off the bat that skipped off the top of the right-field fence.
Boyd gave up a pair of unearned runs in the second. Castellanos had a hard ground ball by Todd Frazier go through his legs to start the rally. Tyler Saladino followed with an infield single that caromed off Boyd’s glove.
After a sacrifice fly by Garcia scored the first run, Dioner Navarro hit a hard two-hopper down the third base line that Castellanos couldn’t knock down. It was scored an RBI double.
The Tigers couldn’t do much against the parade of relievers, even though they were the same ones they saw Friday. Matt Albers, Dan Jennings and Tommy Kahnle worked two innings each.
Left-handed set-up man Zach Duke pitched a scoreless seventh before Jones entered in the eighth.