Tigers blasted by White Sox, 8-1: 'They played like a playoff team and we did not'
Chicago — AJ Hinch was correct. There was no apparent carry-over Friday from the fracas between the Tigers and White Sox on Monday.
Home plate umpire and crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt had a longer-than-usual meeting at home plate with Hinch and White Sox skipper Tony La Russa, but that was about it. Even when White Sox Cesar Hernandez got plunked with a high-and-tight fastball in the second inning, there was no reaction.
"It was a longer meeting because we had to go over some new ground rules with the netting down the lines and some photo booths that were put in for the media for the playoffs," Hinch said. "Everything about the carry-over was handled way before this. There was no real need by me or by Tony to address it.
"It was much to do about nothing."
The White Sox perhaps just decided to handle it a different way, like by demonstrating to the Tigers the difference between being a contender and hoping to be a contender.
The Central Division-champion White Sox started to build some playoff momentum with an 8-1 win over the Tigers before a festive crowd of 30,729 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"You have to execute against a team like this," Hinch said. "They played like a playoff team and we did not. We'll have some takeaways to get better from tonight."
Jose Abreu, who was at the center of the dustup at Comerica Park, said his piece with a four-RBI night that included a majestic solo home run (his 30th) and an RBI double.
Shortstop Tim Anderson, who is appealing his three-game suspension for bumping umpire Tim Timmons during the incident, seemed at times to be toying with the Tigers.
He reached base five times — a double, three singles and a walk — scored twice, knocked in a run and caused utter mayhem on the base paths.
"He's every bit the energizer you like at the top of your order," Hinch said. "It's tough to play against him when he gets going because their whole offense takes off. He was the catalyst tonight."
Anderson was at the center of a three-run fourth that broke the game open against Tigers’ starter Wily Peralta.
It started with a throwing error by first baseman Jonathan Schoop. Trying to start a double-play, his throw to second hit base runner Gavin Sheets in the back and caromed into the outfield. With runners at second and third, Anderson lined an RBI single and then took second when Robbie Grossman’s throw home missed the cutoff man.
Actually, the cutoff man wasn't there.
"We were out of position," Hinch said. "There was a lack of communication between the corning infielders and nobody was in the middle of the diamond which is where Grossman is going to throw the ball.
"It was a bad play that created more energy for their inning."
Luis Robert hit a sacrifice fly to center to score the second run in the inning and Anderson alertly tagged and went to third. With a huge secondary lead, he scored on a ground ball to shortstop Niko Goodrum, even though Goodrum was playing in on the infield grass.
It was the second time he took a base on Goodrum. Anderson was on second in the first inning when Robert hit a ground ball to short. Anderson baited him, stopping momentarily then streaking into third once Goodrum threw to first.
The next hitter was Abreu and Anderson's presence at third nearly created an infield hit for him. Abreu smoked a ground ball that Goodrum made a quick stab of. Anderson again bluffed down the line. Goodrum, learning his lesson from the previous play, looked Anderson back twice and then just barely threw out Abreu at first.
"We didn't control him," Hinch said. "We gave them opportunities with walks and misplays and then you look up and it's 8-1. They're too explosive to give them those kinds of opportunities. But the guy at the top (Anderson) was pretty electrifying tonight."
The White Sox, who scored three more runs in the seventh off reliever Bryan Garcia, showed why they are 16 games ahead of the Tigers in the division, and how they’ve gone 32-13 against the Tigers since 2019.
Peralta, with the Tigers’ bullpen taxed, soldiered through six innings despite allowing nine hits with three walks. Three of the five runs against him were unearned because of Schoop’s error. But he was in trouble in all but one inning.
"(Anderson) is a really aggressive player and a really good player, too," said Peralta, who helped solidify the Tigers rotation this season with 18 starts and an ERA just over 3.00. "A guy like that, you have to keep him off the bases, but he had a good night tonight."
Peralta, 32, will be a free agent again this offseason. The Tigers, with Spencer Turnbull and Matthew Boyd both recovering from surgeries, have discussed trying to re-sign him. But Peralta isn't ready to think about that just yet.
"It's too soon," he said. "I'm just really happy to finish the season healthy. That was one of my main goals, to finish healthy and show I can be a contributor."
That mission was accomplished.