The White Sox offense waited just a little too long to come to life in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The bats were silent for eight innings before a jolt of a ninth-inning rally that saw the South Siders shave a 4-0 gap down to 4-3, only for back-to-back strikeouts to strand the would-be tying run 90 feet away and send the White Sox to a 4-3 loss at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Buck Farmer made his first big league start of the 2017 season for the visiting Detroit Tigers, and he kept the White Sox quiet, striking out 11 hitters in his 6.1 shutout innings of work. He allowed just three hits and two walks, preventing the White Sox from doing much of anything.
“Farmer certainly had a lot of action on his pitches,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said, “so it was tough to get anything started while he was in there.
“Farmer kept us from being able to string things together. His ball had a lot of action. He hid the ball well. … He was able to contain and continue to throw strikes and move the ball out of the zone.”
It wasn’t until the ninth that the White Sox were able to string some things together. Jose Abreu led off the final frame with a double and moved to third two batters later when Matt Davidson singled. Tim Anderson’s base hit up the middle brought home Abreu to end the shutout. Then Yolmer Sanchez tripled into the right-field corner to plate both Davidson and Anderson and make it a sudden one-run game.
But Todd Frazier and Adam Engel struck out, leaving Sanchez standing at third base.
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White Sox starting pitcher Derek Holland had a solid outing, allowing just one run and striking out eight batters in six innings of work. He did allow seven hits and four walks, but he worked out of most jams, the only run coming on a solo home run off the bat of John Hicks in the fourth inning.
The Tigers’ offense did the rest of its damage against the White Sox bullpen, a change from Game 1 of the doubleheader, which saw the relief corps throw four scoreless innings in a 3-0 win. But in Game 2, Gregory Infante allowed two seventh-inning runs on a sacrifice fly and a Michael Ynoa wild pitch after Infante departed. Victor Martinez smacked a solo homer off Juan Minaya to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the top of the ninth.
It’s been a long couple days on the South Side. Friday’s scheduled day-night doubleheader turned into a lot of waiting around and just one game that didn’t get started until after a rain delay. Then came Saturday’s straight doubleheader, two games played one right after the other.
While Holland dismissed any fatigue for the White Sox — who before these long days at home came off a 10-game road trip — but whether related to fatigue or not, these two teams struck out a combined 47 times and stranded a combined 35 runners in Saturday’s two games.
That being said, the White Sox had enough left in them to come 90 feet away from erasing a four-run deficit in the ninth.
“Look how we battled into the ninth inning,” Holland said. “We were still going strong. Definitely no fatigue over here, that’s for sure.
“This was a tough one today. We had two back-to-back games and long games. They played hard. That’s what it’s all about. Those guys were battling out there.”