'Proud of our fight': Tigers' comeback falls short in 9-8 walk-off loss to White Sox
Chicago — This one was bananas.
It went from a drowsy blowout win for the home team to a knock-down, drag-out, last-team-standing slugfest at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday night.
The White Sox ended up being the last team standing.
Yasmani Grandal hit the second of his two home runs, this one off Rony Garcia, to tie the game 8-8 with two outs in the seventh inning. And then in the bottom of the ninth, Yermin Mercedes singled over the drawn in infield to give the White Sox a 9-8 walk-off win.
Reliever Jose Cisnero had set the table by hitting Yoan Moncada with a 2-2 slider. Jose Abreu followed with a single to right field, sending Moncada to third.
"Emotionally, you have to be able to handle the good and the bad and we had a little bit of both tonight," manager AJ Hinch said. "I'm proud of our fight. We gave ourselves a chance but we got beat up in a couple of areas tonight, physically."
The Tigers pulled starter Spencer Turnbull after he went four strong innings with what was initially diagnosed as right forearm tightness.
"It's muscular in nature so that's a positive sign," Hinch said. "He fought to stay in the game, but soreness in the forearm, anytime you hear that, it's my job to protect the player from himself.
"We needed to get him out of the game and get him evaluated."
Turnbull left a 1-1 game and then all hell broke loose for the Tigers.
The White Sox scored five runs off right-hander and Chicago native Kyle Funkhouser in the fifth. The uprising featured more walks (four) and errors (three), than hits (two).
It was brutal. The three errors in one inning equals a club record (also done in 2017 and 2019) in the Statcast era.
"We're not trying to do that," said Schoop, who was charged with one of the errors. "Everybody is trying to make plays. When things like that happen, you just have to calm down and try to answer with your bat."
That's exactly what happened, and Schoop led the charge. He ended up going 4 for 4 with a double, two home runs and five RBIs. It was his second multi-home run game in four days.
"It's all about winning," said Schoop, who since May 23 is hitting .434 (20 for 46) with six homers and 12 RBIs. "I go 4-for-4 and we lose, it's not fun. I go 1 for 4 and we win, it's more fun."
The Tigers were down 7-2 going into the top of the seventh, having been subdued for six innings by White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel, who was bedeviled only by Schoop (RBI double and solo home run).
But reliever Codi Heuer opened the door in the seventh by loading the bases with no outs.
"I just think we're a better team, energy-wise," catcher Eric Haase said. "We never feel like we're out of a game. We know the White Sox are always going to be a thorn in our side. They're that team that never goes away, they just continue to apply pressure.
"I feel like we can be that exact same team. We continued to have good at-bats and the next then you know, a couple of big swings and we are right back in it."
Two big swings, both off right-hander Evan Marshall -- a three-run homer by Schoop and then, after a two-out single by Miguel Cabrera, Haase unloaded on a 94-mph fastball and sent it 427 feet into the shrubs beyond the center field wall, putting the Tigers up 8-7.
"Those late-inning guys, you know they're going to be nasty," Haase said. "Hopefully there'll be one pitch they give you that you can hit. I was fortunate to put a good swing on the one pitch I got to hit."
The Tigers usually have a three-headed monster at the back of their bullpen, but Hinch said after the game that he wanted to give right-hander Michael Fulmer one more day of rest.
Thus, he went to right-hander Rony Garcia, who had warmed up all through the Tigers six-run rally, to face the middle of the White Sox order in the seventh. Keeping Gregory Soto and Cisnero for the finish.
Garcia walked Jose Abreu to lead off the inning, but center fielder Derek Hill bailed him out by throwing Abreu out at second trying to tag and advance on a fly ball.
Grandal, who had homered off Turnbull in the second inning, lashed a hanging slider from Garcia into the seats in right field to tie the game.
"It's a tough loss," Hinch said. "We did our best. Looking back, I'd like to play the fifth inning over again and see if it could work out differently. But credit to the White Sox for hanging in after their own emotional rollercoaster."
The Tigers were poised to break the 8-8 tie in the top of the ninth, except for some straight thievery by White Sox center fielder Billy Hamilton. Cabrera hit a missile toward the left-center field gap. Pinch-runner Akil Baddoo would have scored easily from first.
But Hamilton somehow ran it down. According to Statcast, there was a .360 hit probability on Cabrera's drive.
Still, the Tigers had two on and two out in the top of the ninth. White Sox manager Tony LaRussa summoned closer Liam Hendriks to douse the rally. He got Niko Goodrum to fly to left.
The win was No. 2,763 for LaRussa, tying him with John McGraw for second all-time.