DETROIT -- Carlos Sanchez has proven to the White Sox how capable he can be with his glove. On Thursday afternoon, the rookie finally showed them what he could do with his bat, too.
Having already made several nice defensive plays, the White Sox second baseman delivered a critical hit when he cleared the bases with a two-out triple in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win over the Detroit Tigers in front of 40,355 at Comerica Park. Sanchez went 2-for-5, including a three-run triple off Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson survived two-bases loaded jams to even the team’s record at 2-2 on the road trip.
“I think it’s going to give him a world of confidence,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said of Sanchez. “For any baseball player, especially a guy who’s not doing all that well at the plate but brings the glove every day, it’s huge.
“It’s a day that we needed it.”
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Though they broke through in a Tuesday night victory, the White Sox have had a shortage of hits in clutch situations in June and it looked like Thursday may be no different.
With one out in the 10th, Chamberlain walked Melky Cabrera and hit Avisail Garcia. But he struck out Alexei Ramirez on three sliders out of the zone before pinch hitter J.B. Shuck had an infield single to load the bases.
Sanchez, who entered the game with a .410 OPS, quickly fell behind 1-2 in the count before he ripped a slider to the wall in right to score all three. It’s the first big hit of the season for Sanchez, who has a decent track record in the minors. Not only did he hit .250 in 104 plate appearances with the White Sox last season, Sanchez owns a .288 career average in the minors.
“My offense hasn’t been good but now it is getting better,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I got the big hit today for the team and its important for me and the team also because we won the game.”
They almost didn’t.
Robertson loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 10th and Justin Holaday singled in two runs. One out later, the White Sox intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to reload the bases for Josh Wilson, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Victor Martinez in the ninth. Robertson struck out Wilson for his 15th save in 19 tries.
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Carlos Rodon struck out seven batters over five laborious innings but gave up a pair of two-run homers to Kinsler and J.D. Martinez. Sanchez helped Rodon get out of a first-inning jam when and Gordon Beckham, who started a short, turned a double play against Victor Martinez. Three innings later, Sanchez cut down Nick Castellanos at the plate on a Jose Iglesias grounder with the infield playing in.
But Sanchez’s best play came against Cabrera in the sixth when he snagged a hot shot off the slugger’s bat to start a 4-6-3 double play.
Adam Eaton, who went 2-for-4 with a walk, homered off Alfredo Simon to start the game. The White Sox took a 3-2 lead in the second inning when Cabrera singled and Garcia doubled to deep center. Tyler Flowers also had an RBI single.
The White Sox added two runs in the fifth against Simon on a two-run double by Adam LaRoche. But the Tigers bullpen took over as Bruce Rondon struck out Abreu and LaRoche with two on in the seventh and kept the White Sox scoreless until Sanchez’s heroics.
“Everybody is pulling for him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You feel good for him that he got a couple of hits today. He has been playing great defense. We turned a couple of double plays there with him, they show up big any time you are keeping them from adding on or getting close to you. Everybody is feeling good for Sanchy right now.”