Detroit — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't in a mood to break this one down.
"We weren't pretty," he said after the 6-3 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday at Comerica Park. "We just had one of those 'Bad News Bears' games."
It went crooked right out of the gate. Top of the first. A lazy fly ball fell into shallow center field and Victor Reyes' throw went to nobody in particular. The next hitter hit a single to right field and Nick Castellanos airmailed a throw over the cut-off man and into the infield.
"It was ugly," Gardenhire said. "There were like 16 points in the first inning I had to talk about."
The madness ended with your basic two-run sacrifice fly/double play.
Say what again?
Yep. The top half of the first inning ended with the White Sox scoring twice on an inning-ending sacrifice fly that turned into an 8-6-3-4-6 double play.
"You guys figure it out," Gardenhire said, when asked about the play. "I'm going to watch video on it and try to figure it out. I just told you, I talked to like 16 people in the dugout there, trying to figure out what we need to do different there."
Here's what happened:
The White Sox, already up 1-0, had the bases loaded with one out against starter Blaine Hardy. Kevan Smith flew out to Reyes in center field. Jose Abreu tagged from third and scored easily.
But, Daniel Palka, the runner at first, got hung up between first and second base. While the Tigers tried to tag him out — it took three throws — Matt Davidson, the runner at second base, came all the way around to score.
If the rundown had lasted another throw or two, left fielder Mike Gerber might’ve gotten involved. As it was, the play went Reyes to Jose Iglesias (running toward first base) to Jim Adduci to Niko Goodrum and back to Iglesias (running toward second base).
"I should've just tagged him," said Adduci, who is an outfielder by trade but is filling in at first with Miguel Cabrera and John Hicks out injured. "It's my fault. I should absolutely just went forward. Obviously, I can run a little bit. I should have chased him down.
"That's on me."
Goodrum was put in a no-win situation. Adduci's throw to him early in the rundown bounced.
"I was worrried about picking up the ball," Goodrum said. "When I looked up, he was already close to home. There was no point in me trying to go home. Just try to get the out."
Hardy, who gave up a solo home run to Jackson and University of Michigan product Ryan LaMarre — his first big-league homer — in the second inning, was pulled after four innings and 57 pitches. He had just worked out of a first-and-third, one-out mess, to keep it a 4-3 game at the time.
"He kind of scuffled along," Gardenhire said. "Didn't have his best stuff. We just decided to take him out. That was about enough. It just wasn't working."
Hardy, who struggled to command his fastball and cutter, didn't dispute the decision.
"The command wasn't there," he said. "Fastball command is a must. Everything else plays off the fastball. Obviously, I would have liked to stay in there longer, but it was a one-run game and I wasn't my usual self.
"Gardy wanted to go to the pen and I didn't disagree."
The Tigers answered with three runs in the bottom of the first off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito.
Victor Martinez rescued a dying rally with a two-out double, scoring Jeimer Candelario and Iglesias, who opened the inning with a single and double. Castellanos and Goodrum both struck out. But, with the White Sox over-shifting to the right side, Martinez poked a ground ball inside the third-base line.
Martinez, who also legged out an infield single (on a ball struck with an exit velocity of 101 mph), scored from second on a single by Adduci.
That turned out to be the first and last burst from the Tigers’ offense.
Although the Tigers, trailing by three runs again in the sixth, did load the bases with no outs against Giolito but came up empty. Giolito got James McCann to fly to shallow right field, then struck out Gerber on three pitches and retired Reyes on a pop out to third.
"That was a big one," Gardenhire said. "The guy made some pitches on us. But that's where we need to come up with a big hit to get back in it."
Giolito came in leading the Major Leagues in earned runs allowed, walks and hit batsmen, and allowed only three runs and one walk, with seven strikeouts.
The White Sox had previously extended their lead with two runs in the fifth off reliever Zach McAllister — on a two-run double by Abreu.
McAllister wound up striking out four in his two innings. Buck Farmer followed him with three perfect innings.
"We hung in there," Gardenhire said. "The guys were trying. They were hooting and hollering in the dugout. And we still gave ourselves a chance at the end, which is a good thing."
The Tigers got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. A walk to pinch-hitter Mikie Mahtook and a two-out single by Ronny Rodriguez set the table for Castellanos.
But, against White Sox left-hander Xavier Cedeno, Castellanos took a called third strike.
Note: Iglesias left the game in the eighth inning with a right thumb bruise. He said he had jammed the thumb during the game on Monday. He tried to play through it, striking out twice after a first-inning double, but it worsened.