Homer-happy White Sox’ lead cut to two after 5-3 loss to Tigers
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com September 11, 2012 11:39PM
White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza can’t corral a ball hit by the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta in the eighth inning of a 5-3 loss Tuesday. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:58PM
At some point, and before too long, the White Sox will have to find ways to score without the help of a home run.
While there is nothing wrong about the 186 homers the Sox have hit, they smashed two solo shots and scratched across another run with their long-ball-or-nothing offense in the Detroit Tigers’ 5-3 win before 26,504 fans at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night.
The Sox scored all of their runs in Monday’s 6-1 win on three homers and picked up Tuesday where they left off. Dewayne Wise homered in the first and Gordon Beckham hit his career-high 15th in the third against Tigers starter Doug Fister to give Jake Peavy a 2-0 lead. But Fister (9-8) allowed no other hits in seven innings, and after the Sox strung together three hits against Joaquin Benoit to cut Detroit’s lead to 5-3, their 2-3-4 hitters went down in order.
“I feel like we have a lot of people that are trying to do too much,’’ said Wise, the No. 3-hitter in Adam Dunn’s absence who struck out three times, including once in the eighth. “We’ll get runners in scoring position and guys will go out there thinking they have to do something at that point. I feel like we got to relax and have fun. Just go out and play the game.’’
Looking to build their lead in the AL Central to four games, the Sox instead had it cut to two. Max Scherzer faces Gavin Floyd on Wednesday, and Justin Verlander opposes Chris Sale on Thursday.
The Tigers used the long ball against Peavy in the fifth to erase the Sox’ two-run lead. Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer and Miguel Cabrera belted his 36th of the season two batters later to make it 3-2.
“You give up homers, you don’t mind doing that but they have to be solos like Fister,’’ Peavy said.
Peavy “had good stuff” and struck out nine but couldn’t finish the sixth because his pitch count was at 117, the result of Tigers hitters fouling off pitches and battling him deep into counts. The home-run pitches were on thigh- and belt-high fastballs.
Fister’s stuff, particularly his curveball, was every bit as good. After Beckham’s homer, he walked Kevin Youkilis with one out and proceeded to retire 14 consecutive Sox through the seventh.
“Today you just tip your hat to Fister,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He was tough.’’
After Donnie Veal and Brett Myers got out of a jam created by two Nate Jones walks in the seventh, Francisco Liriano opened the eighth by hitting a batter and giving up two singles, including an RBI by Alex Avila. Andy Dirks drove in the Tigers’ fifth run with a single against Jesse Crain (charged to Liriano).
The Sox cut the lead to 5-3 in the eighth when Alexei Ramirez, Beckham and Alejandro De Aza singled to open the inning. But the rally began to fizzle when Youkilis, attempting to bunt the tying runs to second and third, didn’t get a bunt down before striking out.
The sacrifice would have been the first of Youkilis’ career.
“We’re trying to tie it up and we’re trying to move them into scoring position and it just didn’t happen,’’ Ventura said. “We didn’t execute it very well.’’
After Wise struck out, Paul Konerko grounded out to second to end the inning.