White Sox lose a head-scratcher to Tigers
There are no gimmes in major-league baseball, but this matchup seemed pretty close to a sure thing.
On one side, the White Sox came into Tuesday night's game at Guaranteed Rate Field riding a four-game winning streak.
The Sox were tied for the American League lead with a plus-21 run differential and the starting rotation ranked first with a 3.09 ERA.
As an added bonus, Lucas Giolito was back on the mound after being pushed back two days due to a cut on his right middle finger.
On the other side, the Tigers limped in with a five-game losing streak and the worst record (7-16) in baseball. They also ranked last in the AL in runs scored (69) and second-to-last with a .208 batting average.
Giolito was sharp early, and Detroit committed 5 errors in the first 5 innings.
This was a game with blowout written all over it, but the Sox were unable to cash in on the Tigers' atrocious defense. Manager Tony La Russa opted to leave Giolito in the game in the seventh inning when Detroit tagged him for 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks.
Add it all up, and it was a tumultuous 5-2 loss for the White Sox.
"I didn't have much left in the tank," Giolito said of the disastrous seventh.
La Russa said he didn't realize Giolito was out of gas.
"That's my fault for not recognizing it," he said. "If you remember, I think I relieved him in the sixth inning early in the season. He's several starts into it, he's stronger, but if he felt like he didn't have much left, that's something I should have recognized."
Giolito blamed himself.
"The seventh was my inning," he said. "I have to get the job done, I didn't. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling."
Giolito walked leadoff man Willi Castro in the seventh and figured to be pulled after giving up a one-out RBI double to Wilson Ramos.
La Russa left him in the game, and Niko Goodrum hit a 2-run homer on Giolito's next pitch to snap the 2-2 tie.
With his pitch count at 109 after Goodrum's home run, Giolito still stayed in the game. He got JaCoby Jones on a flyball and was finally lifted after walking Robbie Grossman on four pitches.
The White Sox did manage to score unearned runs in the first and third innings, but they wasted other opportunities against Detroit starter Jose Urena by grounding into 4 double plays.
"When someone opens a door, you knock it down and you make them pay for it," right fielder Adam Eaton said. "We didn't do that tonight. What'd they have, 5 errors? And for us not to capitalize on those, that's tough baseball. It was a funky game. I felt like we were in control the whole game. It seemed like we should've been up 6, 7, 8 runs. We need to knock those doors down when they open up."