Offense stalls, Hinch ejected as Tigers lose their sixth straight
Chicago – He knew the consequences. He just didn't care. Making the point that he needed to make was worth taking an ejection for.
"In a game like that, I'm going to defend the guys," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said after he was ejected on a controversial replay ruling in the seventh inning that precipitated the go-ahead run as the White Sox beat the Tigers Saturday night, 6-4, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With the score tied 4-4, Jose Abreu legged out an infield single with one out against reliever Joe Jimenez. Yasmani Grandal followed with a 399-foot fly ball to center that Greene caught at the wall.
Abreu tagged and went to second. Greene made a strong throw right on the bag and shortstop Javier Báez applied a swift tag. At least he thought he did. Second base umpire and crew chief Jerry Layne called Abreu safe and a video review upheld the call.
Andrew Vaughn cashed it in, slapping a single to center, scoring Abreu with the go-ahead run.
Hinch came out to make a pitching change and then made a beeline to Layne. Arguing video replay decisions brings an automatic ejection, which Hinch knew.
"We saw the replay," he said. "They showed it on the big board. It was as big a screenshot as you can get. Javy's body language from the get-go was that he got him. Abreu's body language was that he got him. They showed it on the board and we think he got him.
"It comes back as the call stands. It's a frustrating time."
Call stands means there wasn't enough video evidence to support overturning the call. One angle showed that Báez swiped Abreu's upper arm before he got to the base.
"You're not supposed to argue replays and Jerry gave me a little bit of a leash, but eventually they threw me out," said Hinch, who has been booted from three games this season. "You have to defend your team. Obviously it's a big moment in the game and the original call matters and the replay matters.
"I think we are all frustrated with replay on some level across the league. They get it right a lot of the time, but sometimes it's frustrating."
Of course, that play would’ve mattered less had the Tigers not stopped hitting.
Riley Greene launched a two-out, bases-loaded double in the second inning off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. The Tigers produced four runs and seven hits off him in the first three innings.
But that was it. Giolito set down 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced through seven innings.
"That's what we really haven't been doing at the plate," said catcher Eric Haase, who doubled in the fourth run. "We get something that's going our way and we don't really capitalize on it. We get a couple guys on and we hit a bullet right at someone or we hit it right into the shift.
"It's just going against us."
The White Sox added an insurance run in the eighth. AJ Pollock lined a solo home run to left off Andrew Chafin. It was just the second homer Chafin allowed this year in 155 batters.
The Tigers have lost six straight and are 29 games under .500 (43-72).
"I take full responsibility for the loss tonight," said Tigers starter Matt Manning, who grinded through five innings. "The hitters gave me a cushion and I couldn't hand that off to the bullpen."
In his two previous starts since he came off the injured list, he survived by smartly mixing his secondary pitches — the slider, curveball and change-up. His two-seam and four-seam fastballs were still a little sketchy after the three-month stint on the injured list.
Different story Saturday. His fastballs were lively, sitting 95 mph and hitting 97. He struck out Vaughn with three straight heaters, 94, 96, 96.
But his secondary pitches weren’t nearly as sharp, particularly the slider.
"He had a hard time landing his spin," Hinch said. "They hit him hard and he gave up a lot of hits. When he spun balls in the strike zone they hit them."
After Manning blew away Vaughn in the second inning, Gavin Sheets, with an emergency hack at an 0-2 heater, doubled down the left-field line. Manning then hung sliders to Leury Garcia and Josh Harrison and the White Sox put up two quick runs to tie the score 3-3.
With two outs and a runner at first in the fourth, he walked Yoan Moncada and then left an 0-1 slider up to Eloy Jimenez. He smacked it into center field to tie the score 4-4.
When the dust settled, Manning allowed the four runs on 10 hits. But he left with a flourish, striking out Sheets and Garcia, getting five swings and misses with his last six pitches and leaving a 4-4 tie to the bullpen.
"I wanted to keep going," Manning said. "I wanted to show these guys that no matter how hard we get hit, we keep fighting back. I got hit pretty hard with some singles but I clawed my way and tried to get as deep as I could."
One of the three hits the Tigers got after the third inning was a single by Kerry Carpenter — his first big-league hit after he went 0-for-10 to start his career.
"That took a little bit of a burden off me, I'm not going to lie," Carpenter said. "It was nice to see that one go through."