CHICAGO — Spencer Torkelson demolished a sweeper, which didn’t sweep enough to the down-and-away part of the strike zone, with two outs in the seventh inning for a no-doubt solo home run.
The Tigers (63-74) have won four games in a row.
Torkelson, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick, has 25 home runs (and 72 RBIs) in 135 games this season, with 10 of those homers (and 14 of those RBIs) in his past 24 games. The 24-year-old first baseman didn’t swing at any pitches outside of the strike zone before hitting left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer‘s poorly executed full-count sweeper with a 109.6 mph exit velocity.
And then, Torkelson dropped his bat directly in the batter’s box and began to circle the bases.
Torkelson’s shot backed seven strong innings from Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal. The 26-year-old allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He threw 65 of 97 pitches for strikes and bounced back from surrendering two runs in the first inning.
Skubal owns a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts.
A pair of relievers — right-handers Jason Foley and Alex Lange — finished off the ChiSox. Lange, who surrendered a walk-off grand slam in the Tigers’ previous visit to Chicago, recorded his 21st save of the season, as well as his second save in the three-game series.
The Tigers stranded 10 runners and finished 1-for-13 with runners in scoring positions. The White Sox struggled in those categories, as well, stranding five runners and finishing 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Two runs for White Sox
A leadoff double from Tim Anderson, who jumped Skubal’s first-pitch fastball, put the White Sox in business in the first inning. With two outs, Eloy Jiménez hit a second-pitch sinker into right-center field, which scored Anderson.
Trailing 1-0, Skubal walked Yoan Moncada on six pitches after getting ahead 0-2 in the count. Four consecutive balls, rather than an inning-ending strikeout, came back to hurt Skubal.
Elvis Andrus hit a bloop single to left-center field — between left fielder Akil Baddoo and center fielder Parker Meadows — to score Jiménez for a 2-0 advantage. Skubal struck out the next batter, Trayce Thompson, to escape the first inning, however.
From then on, Skubal was sharp throughout his final six innings with an approach heavy on changeups and sliders. After Jiménez’s double in the sixth inning, he shut down the next three batters, and then he retired all three batters in the seventh.
Skubal threw 29 changeups (29.9%), 26 sliders (26.8%), 22 four-seam fastballs (22.7%), 10 sinkers (10.3%) and 10 knuckle curves (10.3%). The White Sox put seven right-handed hitters in their starting lineup, and Skubal’s changeup — his x-factor against righties — was his best pitch.
He generated 20 whiffs with seven changeups, five sliders, five four-seam fastballs, one sinker and two knuckle curves.
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Two runs for Tigers
The Tigers stranded too many runners and almost came up empty in the second inning.
Right-hander Michael Kopech, who has a miserable 15.7% walk rate, issued free passes to Matt Vierling and Parker Meadows to start the second inning, followed by Tyler Nevin’s strikeout and Zack Short‘s flyout.
Carson Kelly, the Tigers’ catcher, salvaged the inning by hitting a slider at the bottom of the strike zone for a two-run double. His ground ball traveled down the third-base line and into the left field corner, scoring both runners to tie it.
Kopech allowed two runs on one hit and five walks with two strikeouts over 1⅔ innings, throwing 16 of 44 pitches for strikes. The White Sox were forced to use seven pitchers — six relievers — to complete nine innings.
Left-handed reliever Tanner Banks replaced Kopech and covered three innings total.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers sweep Chicago White Sox, 3-2, on Spencer Torkelson HR
Source: Yahoo Sports