Minor-league call-up Leesman chased early in White Sox loss
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter April 22, 2014 9:34PM
Updated: April 22, 2014 10:30PM
DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double in the first inning and a two-run homer in a five-run third against minor-league callup Charlie Leesman, and the Detroit Tigers held on for an 8-6 victory over the visiting White Sox Tuesday.
Justin Verlander kept the Sox — baseball’s highest scoring team with 5.45 runs per game going in — to two runs on eight hits over eight innings.
The Sox bullpen held the Tigers to two runs and the offense made a game of it in the ninth inning against left-hander Phil Coke after Paul Konerko drove in a run with a single and Adam Dunn hit an 0-2 pitch for a two-run homer, his fourth of the season.
Joba Chamberlain then walked Dayan Viciedo (4-for-4) to put the tying run at the plate but Alexei Ramirez flied out to end the game.
Leesman, making his first start since Aug. 9, lasted 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits. He was called up from AAA Charlotte to take Chris Sale’s start after Sale was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a flexor muscle strain.
“You’d like him to go a little further but they were hitting him around pretty good,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He was just up in the zone and they were swinging it. The bullpen did a nice job of coming in and calming things down being able to get through it. It was just pretty short.’’
“Everybody expects the Sale-Verlander matchup and then they see this ‘Who’s Leesman?’’’ Leesman said.
“Just a rough one. Detroit is a good team. Can’t take that away one through nine.’’
Jose Abreu staked Leesman to a 1-0 lead with a home run beyond the 420-feet sign in center against Verlander, Abreu’s team-high sixth to give him the most homers by a Sox player in his first 21 games. But Leesman gave up a run in the first and five in the third when the first five Tigers reached with hits. Cabrera hit his second homer of the season.
Verlander (3-1, 2.18 ERA)struck out seven and walked two. He moved into 13th place on the Tigers all-time innings pitched list at 1,805.
“Once he gets a lead like that he really goes into power-save mode,’’ Ventura said. “He wasn’t really cranking it up and letting it fly. He was just kind of controlling with offspeed stuff and getting guys out in front. He wasn’t reaching back trying to blow anybody away. He was just trying to conserve and it’s just smart. He’s a smart pitcher.’’
Viciedo had a career-high four hits, three against Verlander including a double. Viciedo raised his average to .361 and is 15-for-35 since taking over for injured Avisail Garcia as the Sox right fielder.
Andre Rienzo will start for the Sox (10-11) against Tigers lefty Drew Smyly Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game series. The Tigers are 10-7.