Four players from the Detroit Tigers bounced through the dugout in the bottom of the third inning on Sunday afternoon. Zach McKinstry went first, receiving high-fives along his route from one end to the other end, followed by Akil Baddoo, Nick Maton and Riley Greene.
A hockey helmet landed on Baddoo’s head, provided by Spencer Torkelson, as he walked down the steps and into the dugout. At the end of the dugout, Baddoo used a hockey stick to slap a puck into the back of the net in celebration of a grand slam off right-hander Dylan Cease.
The vibes were immaculate in the third inning, and the vibes were even better at the end of the game. A ninth-inning comeback led to a 6-5 victory in the 10th inning against the Chicago White Sox in the series finale at Comerica Park. Eric Haase delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly to end the game with two outs.
The Tigers (25-26) entered Sunday’s series finale at two games under a .500 record for the 11th time this season. After a win, the Tigers improved to 2-9 in those 11 games and moved within one game of a .500 record for the first time since April 4.
Detroit is 15-9 in May and 23-17 in 40 games since April 13.
Baddoo has been one of the Tigers’ best players in May, hitting .304 with an .882 OPS in 20 games this month. Only Greene and McKinstry have been more productive in the season’s second month.
No seventh heaven
But the Tigers ran into trouble in the top of the seventh inning. Right-handed reliever Will Vest loaded the bases with one out on two singles and one walk, forcing the Tigers to turn to righty Jose Cisnero for a matchup with Eloy Jimenez.
Jimenez, just returned from the injured list, hit Cisnero‘s third-pitch sinker for a bloop double into left field and drove in two runs, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 4-3 and putting runners on second and third. Luis Robert, the next batter, hit a weak grounder to McKinstry at third, but Tim Anderson beat the throw home. McKinstry is known for his strong throwing arm, but the speed from Anderson evened the score, 4-4.
Then, Andrew Vaughn put the White Sox ahead, 5-4, with a sacrifice fly.
In the eighth, Greene robbed Jake Burger of a home run with a leaping catch in center field while colliding into the wall. He received a standing ovation from the fans at Comerica Park.
Greene provided a boost on offense, too, in the bottom of the ninth.
With one out, Greene fired right-handed reliever Joe Kelly’s two-strike slider into right-center. Robert attempted to cut it off with a slide, but the ball got past him, and Greene wound up on third standing up. Javier Báez followed with a weak grounder to Anderson at shortstop, but Anderson bobbled the ball while trying to throw home, and Greene scored to tie the game, 5-5.
Right-handed reliever Alex Lange then retired all three batters in top of the 10th inning. In the bottom of the inning, Jonathan Schoop advanced the free extra-inning runner to third base with a deep flyout. The White Sox intentionally walked Baddoo, and Haase provided the sac fly.
E-Rod plugs back in
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez pitched another gem in his 11th start of the season.
The 30-year-old allowed one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts, throwing 65 of 100 pitches for strikes. Anderson opened the game with a leadoff double, but Rodriguez retired the next seven batters.
That’s when Romy Gonzalez put the White Sox ahead, 1-0, with a solo home run off Rodriguez’s first-pitch fastball. He turned on an inside heater and sent the ball over the left-field wall.
Rodriguez cruised the rest of the way.
He allowed back-to-back hitters to reach safely with one out in the sixth inning: Vaughn (single) and Yasmani Grandal (walk). But that was followed by an inning-ending double play from Burger after a mound visit from pitching coach Chris Fetter.
Rodriguez threw 36% four-seam fastballs, 28% changeups, 25% cutters, 6% sinkers and 5% sliders on Sunday. He recorded 12 whiffs and 16 called strikes, with his fastball averaging 92.4 mph.
The Tigers finished 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
That included Zack Short leaving the bases loaded with a flyout in the second inning. Greene stranded Short on second with a strikeout in the fourth inning. Haase stranded two runners with a popout in the fifth inning. Báez stranded two runners with a groundout in the sixth inning.
Cease, who has dominated the Tigers throughout his career while never taking a loss at Comerica Park, allowed four runs on four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts.
The Tigers allowed him to complete four innings, throwing 64 of 102 pitches for strikes, because they didn’t capitalize on their scoring chances. Left-handed reliever Garrett Crochet walked three batters across the fifth and sixth innings combined.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers rally to take down Chicago White Sox, 6-5 (10)
Source: Yahoo Sports