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'It is what it is': Casey Mize sees gem turn to dust, Tigers fall 4-3 to White Sox

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Chicago — Casey Mize made things awfully interesting for five innings — then everything went awry.

Though it wasn’t necessarily all Mize’s fault, in what turned out to be a 4-3 Tigers’ loss Friday.

Mize no-hit the White Sox through five innings, but had to wait 28 minutes as the Tigers scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning.

The wait may have had an effect.

Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize heads to the dugout after manager Ron Gardenhire relieved him during the sixth inning.

"When it comes to the long inning, I'm not going to complain about it, we scored three runs," Mize said. "I should have done a better job. I can't walk that first guy after we took the lead, and gave up the double.

"I'm not going to say (the wait) took a toll, but it is what it is."

Mize opened the sixth walking Nomar Mazara, then allowing Yolmer Sanchez to lace a double into the right-field corner, the only hit Mize allowed in the game.

BOX SCORE: White Sox 4, Tigers 3

After Nick Madrigal grounded out, scoring Mazara, manager Ron Gardenhire replaced Mize with Jose Cisnero.

In quick fashion, Cisnero hit Tim Anderson and allowed a three-run home run to Eloy Jimenez, his 12th home run, giving the White Sox a 4-3 lead.

Mize’s sparkling outing was put in the rearview mirror a bit, but it shouldn’t be, in what was easily his best outing.

More:In early stages, Bryan Garcia thriving in Tigers' closer role

"I definitely felt better, just commanding the fastball down in the zone, that was a big focus," Mize said. "I was able to keep them off balance. I just felt really in control, all my stuff, but just an overview of everything, the command was much better and I felt more like myself.

"(But) we had a chance to win a game and I didn't do a good enough job of coming out there and attacking the zone. I'm not happy with the way I walked that first guy."

This was Mize’s fifth career start and easily his best.

Mize threw 76 pitches, 48 for strikes, and only 28 balls. Mize went  5⅓ innings, gave up one hit and two earned runs, and walked two while striking out five.

"He was in command of the strike zone, he was throwing the ball where he wanted to, he and (catcher Austin) Romine had a good thing going," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You're talking about a real good hitting team and he made pitches all night long.

"That's the guy we've seen lighting it up in the bullpen (sessions) and he had his pitch selection tonight. He proved it against a real good hitting baseball team. It's just so frustrating that we didn't get him a win because he pitched so well."

"We were really worried about it (the 28-minute wait). He was overstretching, trying to get loose. You can't just leave him out there after that. It was unfortunate. He was throwing the ball good. (But) I was worried about the wait, I was concerned about that."

Chicago White Sox's Eloy Jimenez celebrates his three-run home run off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Cisnero during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Chicago.

Through five innings, the only baserunner Mize allowed was Edwin Encarnacion, who walked leading off the second inning.

But Encarnacion was quickly erased when former Tiger catcher James McCann hit into a double play.

Interestingly, this was where Mize made his major league debut less than a month ago on August 19, when he allowed three runs on seven hits — he did strike out seven in the loss — in 4⅓ innings.

Mize entered the season as the seventh-best prospect in all of baseball — and the Tigers’ second-best prospect — by MLB Pipeline.

More:Tigers prospect Riley Greene 'ahead of the curve,' Alan Trammell says

Mize was coming off a start Sunday in Minnesota in which went only four innings and allowed three runs on five hits.

But Mize was a much different pitcher Friday, using his entire arsenal and neutralizing a powerful White Sox lineup.

"I felt very comfortable every time I've gone out there," Mize said. "I haven't felt nervous, or out of place, or nothing like that. I felt like I've belonged through this whole process. But I'm going to learn from every experience."

Mize outdueled White Sox ace Lucas Giolito through five innings, at least, who matched Mize in effectiveness until the Tigers scored three runs in the top of the sixth.

Jonathan Schoop singled, and Giolito walked Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario, loading the bases with no outs.

After Willi Castro struck out, Jorge Bonifacio lifted a sacrifice fly, scoring Schoop.

That gave a chance for Daz Cameron, who battled Giolito with a lengthy at-bat, before singling to right field — Cameron’s first major league hit and RBIs in his 12th career at-bat — giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Cameron said. "Runners on second and third, I knew I had two strikes on me, if I squared a baseball and if I just put it in play, something would happen."

Coincidentally, Cameron got his first career hit in the same park as his father Mike Cameron did.

And Mike was playing for the White Sox, against the Tigers, in 1995.

"It's special, I wasn't aware at all," said Daz of the irony. "It's kind of surreal. I didn't even know it was against the Tigers. It's just coincidental, it's something that you literally can't forget, and I'll treasure it for a long time."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan