'Tough night': Abreu, White Sox sweep away big games by Tigers
Chicago — Jose Abreu killed a lot of story lines for the Tigers on Wednesday night.
His two-out, three-run home run on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning — can it get anymore dramatic — sent the White Sox to a 9-6 win and sweep of the doubleheader.
"That's a long day and a lot of baseball and two tough losses," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "These guys gave about everything they had, though. They were spinning on empty, and I'm sure the other guys were, too.
"It was a tough night, but I'm proud of the way these guys played."
Abreu's game-winner — not to mention two home runs each by Yoan Moncada and Ryan Cordell — upstaged a couple of big nights on the Tigers side.
Nick Castellanos, for one. His name hasn’t generated much heat on the trade market of late, but he’s doing his level best to re-stoke the embers.
He's reached base now in a career-best 26 games, and on Wednesday had four hits including an RBI double and a ringing, 412-foot two-run home run.
With the trade deadline four weeks away, Castellanos has been displaying his wares. He’s hitting .330 in this run, with three home runs and eight RBIs.
And how about John Hicks. He not only snapped an 0-for-31 skid with a base hit in the sixth inning, but his two-out line-drive single off reliever Carson Fulmer in the 10th inning gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead.
"That definitely felt good," said Hicks, who hadn't had a hit since June 14 and is now 8-for-62 since June 1. "It'd been a little while. I've got to commend Gardy, I guess, for starting a guy who hadn't gotten a hit in forever. It was nice to see a couple fall in."
It was looking pretty good for the Tigers at that point, with All-Star closer Shane Greene coming in to lock it down. It was Greene's third appearance since June 18 and it ended up being his second blown save.
Moncada jumped on a cutter with one out and banged it out to right-center to tie the game. Moncada hit that home run left-handed; he hit one earlier right-handed.
"Greeney has been so good for us all year," Hicks said. "He made one pitch and the guy hit it over the fence. He's been awesome for us, he doesn't need to feel bad about that one."
Lefty Nick Ramirez breezed through the 11th, but with one out in the 12th, he walked left-handed hitting Zack Collins. Leury Garcia followed with a single. And after he struck out Moncada, he fell behind 2-0 against Abreu.
He got the count back to even and missed with a change-up. He came back with another change-up, down in the zone, and Abreu dropped the bat head on it and drove it into the White Sox bullpen.
"We got the lead and we got the ball to the guy we wanted (Greene)," Gardenhire said. "And he'd been lights-out. And Ramirez hung in there and did the best he could. It just didn't work out."
Before all that drama, though, the night belonged to rookie left-hander Tyler Alexander, who pitched five solid innings in his big-league debut.
"He was outstanding," Gardenhire said. "The kid comes up here and goes five innings, and he was really in control and he was comfortable against a team that can hit the ball a long way. (Catcher) Bobby Wilson did a really nice job with him, keeping him calm and keeping him in control.
"I'm real proud of him. Now he goes back down (to Triple-A Toledo) but he's got some kind of memory to take down there with him."
The only damage against Alexander were solo home runs by Moncada and Cordell.
"The past few days, I've been extremely nervous," Alexander said. "But when I went out there to warm up before the game, I got out there a little earlier than I normally would. I just hung out with Bobby and talked for a while.
"The nerves just went away. After that it was just the same game."
He jumped right into the fray, too, striking out the first hitter he faced (Garcia) then giving up a line-drive home run to the second hitter (Moncada).
"I wanted to laugh but I can't," Alexander said. "Homers have always been my Kryptonite. I give up a lot of homers. So I gave it up and I was laughing inside — but no more after that. Just get that one out of the way and I am good to go."
Alexander threw 84 pitches, mixing a fastball (90-93 mph) with a slider and change-up. Other than the home runs, he gave up three singles with four strikeouts and no walks and left with a 4-2 lead.
"I just want to keep doing what I did here and what I've been doing down there," he said. "And hopefully I will make it back up."