DETROIT -- Frankie Montas received a rude welcome in his first big league start on Wednesday afternoon.
The rookie yielded a first-inning home run to veteran Victor Martinez and then was felled by a bit of bad luck and timely hitting as the White Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park. The No. 3 prospect in the organization, Montas allowed six runs in three innings as the White Sox split a four-game series with the Tigers. Melky Cabrera had three hits, including adouble and a homer, and drove in three runs for the White Sox.
"He had great stuff," catcher Geovany Soto said. "This kid throws very firm. He’s got a great two-seamer, changeup is a work in progress. The slider, it’s a good pitch for him. I feel that he did a good job. He made a few mistakes, but I think he is a real promising young man."
Already ahead 2-0, Detroit’s Rajai Davis began a third-inning rally against Montas with a one-out infield single that Alexei Ramirez couldn’t corral. Davis then should have been doubled off, but Carlos Sanchez covered second base, which allowed Ian Kinsler’s routine pop up to shallow right field to fall in for a single.
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Both runners then moved into scoring position as Soto bounced a pickoff throw to second into center field. White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected to intentionally walk Victor Martinez — who earlier homered — to load the bases. Montas threw a 2-2 slider to J.D. Martinez and he was able to keep the ball just inside the left-field foul line before it bounced over the wall for a two-run double and a 4-0 Detroit lead.
Nick Castellanos singled off the glove of third baseman Mike Olt to bring in another run and Alex Avila’s RBI groundout made it 6-0.
"It’s a tough lineup, an experienced group, and if you’re not going to locate, you can get hurt by it, and Frankie did," Ventura said. "The miscue at second base opens it up, you end up loading the bases and getting J.D. right there. He had a chance to maybe get out of it with a ground ball, but it doesn’t happen, so it changes the look of that inning."
Montas -- who had a 1.13 ERA in eight innings as a reliever -- got out to a slow start in the first inning, too. Davis singled and Victor Martinez ripped a 94-mph inside fastball for a two-run homer with two outs to put Detroit ahead.
Montas struck out two batters in a scoreless second inning and three overall.
He gave up six hits with two walks.
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Montas enjoyed the experience, even though it didn't go his way. Ventura made it sound as if Montas would get one more start.
"I feel like it was not much different," Montas said. "I feel good. I was throwing the ball and things didn’t go like I wanted. It’s part of the game. A lot of things happen in the game. It’s part of the game."
Justin Verlander kept the White Sox off the board until he had a six-run lead. Trayce Thompson drew a two-out walk in the fourth inning and Cabrera ripped the first pitch for a two-run homer to get the White Sox within four runs. Ramirez doubled in a run against Verlander — who allowed three runs and struck out eight in seven innings — in the starting pitcher’s last frame to make it a 7-3 game.
Cabrera doubled in another run in the eighth to get the White Sox within three runs.