Tigers avoid the no-hitter, but can't escape sweep vs. White Sox
Detroit — For the first time in 2021, kids got to run the bases after Sunday's game.
Good thing someone got to. The Tigers took a pass.
Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, non-tendered over the winter, continued his amazing comeback story, one-hitting the Tigers over seven innings of a 4-1 victory, completing the American League Central leaders' three-game sweep of the division doormats.
Rodon, who threw a no-hitter over the Cleveland Indians on April 14, took this no-hit bid into the seventh inning, before Eric Haase doubled with one out — his ball down the line just out of the reach of White Sox left fielder Andrew Vaughn, who made a nice running play the inning before to keep it in tact.
Earlier in the at-bat, Haase took a close pitch on the inner half that was called a ball, rather than strike three. On the eighth pitch, he one-handed the double to left.
"That was a good pitch. It was a tough take," Haase said. "It's just one of those things; it was a bigger moment than kind of what it should've been.
"I was just up there trying to battle."
The Tigers won that battle, but the White Sox won the war, with their first three-game sweep in Detroit since April 2008.
Rodon (6-2) was bidding to become the seventh man with two no-hitters in one season, and the first since ex-Tiger Max Scherzer in 2015. His April gem was one of six no-hitters already this season; a seventh will tie an MLB record.
The Tigers have yet to be no-hit in 21-year-old Comerica Park; the only no-hitter at the ballpark was by Justin Verlander, 14 years ago Saturday. They haven't been no-hit anywhere since Miami's Henderson Alvarez did them in back in 2013.
A stable of Tigers relievers, on a scheduled bullpen day designed to give Matthew Boyd and Casey Mize an extra day of rest, kept the White Sox in relative check, at least compared to their 15-run onslaught Saturday.
Kyle Funkhouser started for the first time in his major-league career (against the team he grew up rooting for), after all of his 67 minor-league appearances were starts. He tried to keep things as he normally would as a reliever, getting to the bullpen just before the singing of the national anthem, throwing 15 to 20 pitches, and heading into the game. He gave the Tigers 2.2 scoreless innings.
"If I'm going to lose, lose in the zone," Funkhouser, who allowed one hit and struck out one, said of the attack mentality that's suited him so well lately. "Make them hit it.
"If you're positive and you're attacking, things are going to go well."
Following Funkhouser, the White Sox got to Tyler Alexander (0-1) and just-recalled Buck Farmer for two runs each.
Farmer appeared to be settling in to get out of sixth inning, before he plunked Danny Mendick on a 1-2 count with the bases loaded, then walked Leury Garcia. Jose Abreu was 3-for-4 for the White Sox, including an RBI single off Alexander to open the scoring.
Chicago now has won eight of 10 against Detroit this season.
After taking two of three from Seattle, Detroit was swept to finish the home stand at 2-4. The Tigers now head to Kansas City for three, starting Monday, before a four-game series at the Los Angeles Angels.
Rodon, with a nasty slider and a fastball that was touching upper-90s, breezed through the Tigers lineup for the first six innings. Few balls, outside of a Harold Castro grounder to second, were hit particularly hard. In his second at-bat, Miguel Cabrera struck out on three pitches, Rodon carving him up like he was some rookie making his debut. Rodon struck out Cabrera again in the seventh.
At 103 pitches, he came out after seven innings, having allowed just the one hit and one run — Niko Goodrum brought Haase home on a sacrifice fly, drawing a huge ovation from the announced crowd of 14,093 — while striking out nine and walking two.
"He was really good," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. "Probably as good a left-handed starting pitcher as we've seen all year.
"He dominated us."
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White Sox relievers Evan Marshall and Liam Hedriks (17th save) put a bow on the one-hitter. It's the first time the Tigers have been one-hit since July 16, 2019, at Cleveland. Nicholas Castellanos broke up that no-hit attempt in the fifth inning.
The Tigers struck out 12 times, their 40th double-digit K game (out of 65) this season.
Joe Jimenez, Bryan Garcia and Gregory Soto also pitched for the Tigers, with scoreless innings. Detroit has used 13 pitchers (11 and two position players) in its last two games.