DETROIT -- Even if walking Miguel Cabrera increased the chances of a Detroit Tigers victory on Thursday, Robin Ventura liked the ploy.
He preferred to have White Sox closer David Robertson face Josh Wilson with two outs in the 10th inning, the bases loaded and the winning run on second instead of Cabrera with the winning run on first.
According to fangraphs.com, the choice to intentionally walk Cabrera to load ‘em up increased Detroit’s chances of winning from 17.4 percent to 27.5 percent. But Robertson struck out Wilson, who entered as a pinch runner in the ninth for Victor Martinez, on four pitches to preserve an 8-7 White Sox victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park.
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“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape too often,” Ventura said. “We’ve seen so much of (Cabrera) over the last few years, if you are going to take your chances, you are going to take your chances with the next guy.
“Maybe it’s different if Victor was back there. Without him back there, you take that chance and I’m not going to mess with him.
“I’ve seen enough of Miggy to realize he’s the best hitter in the game.”
The White Sox took what appeared to be a commanding three-run lead in the top of the 10th inning on a bases-loaded triple by Carlos Sanchez. Robertson struck out J.D. Martinez to start the inning but loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. Josh Holaday singled in two runs to make it 8-7 before Robertson retired Ian Kinsler on a fly out to center.
Ventura quickly called for Robertson to intentionally walk Cabrera, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player. Robertson threw Wilson four cut-fastballs, three for swinging strikes.
“It’s your best opportunity at that point,” Ventura said. “Wilson might get me some other day. He didn’t get me today.”