1:08 PM ET, July 11, 2013
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
Josh Phegley's slam helps White Sox win testy game with Tigers
DETROIT -- It was hard to tell who was happier when Josh Phegley's sixth-inning grand slam cleared the fence -- Phegley himself, or the pitcher who would benefit from those four runs.
Phegley's drive gave Chris Sale some long-awaited offensive support, and Chicago went on to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 on Thursday in a game that included a bench-clearing altercation shortly after the White Sox took the lead.
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Sale was 0-6 in his previous seven starts despite an ERA of 3.10 over that span. With one swing, Phegley helped the left-hander end his unfortunate winless stretch.
"That was awesome," Sale said. "Being in that situation and watching that ball go over the fence, that was very satisfying to say the least. What a game. We didn't put our heads down, didn't quit."
Chicago trailed 3-1 when Phegley cleared the bases with a homer off Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez (7-6). Luke Putkonen came on and got one out before throwing a pitch behind Alexei Ramirez, who started toward the mound before being restrained.
Benches and bullpens emptied, but the situation didn't escalate into any sort of fight. Putkonen was ejected, and Detroit manager Jim Leyland argued with umpires at length and was also tossed from the game.
"I wasn't trying to hit anybody," Putkonen said. "Just threw a fastball inside, and it got away from me."
Ramirez felt otherwise.
"Obviously, that wasn't a pitch that was intended to go in the zone," he said through a translator.
MLB is looking into the actions that led to the benches clearing, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.
Based on precedent, the player whose actions will get the most scrutiny is Putkonen.
Sale (6-8) allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
Detroit's Miguel Cabrera hit his 30th homer of the year, a solo shot in the fifth that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Prince Fielder was up next, and Sale threw a pitch high and inside to the Detroit slugger.
Sale said he didn't mean to come close to hitting Fielder.
"Just trying to rare back and throw it as hard as I can. I've said it before -- there's a time and a place for that, and that wasn't the time or the place," Sale said. "I'm not even trying to send a message. I wasn't even trying to back him off the plate, honestly. I've got a lot of respect for Prince, the Detroit Tigers and the game of baseball."
The White Sox rallied off Sanchez to take the lead, and then Putkonen's pitch nearly hit Ramirez. Leyland looked fired up during the brouhaha that followed, and he twice came back out to argue with umpires.
Leyland did not speak to reporters after the game. Plate umpire Chad Fairchild explained the decision to eject Putkonen.
"He threw behind him and I deemed it intentional," Fairchild said.
Fairchild did not view Sale's pitch to Fielder the same way.
"There was no reaction from Fielder. He said nothing. There was no reaction from anyone else," Fairchild said. "The only reaction I saw was from Sale, who made a motion like, `Damn, it got away."
Sale sounded upset with himself afterward.
"Even when I threw it on the mound, I was kind of like, `Ohhhhh, that's not good.' So from the outside looking in, it doesn't look good at all. Like I said, I swear on everything I love, it was unintentional," he said. "Any time your teammates have something like that happen because of something you did, that's not fun.
"Obviously, I won't sit here and say (Putkonen's pitch) was intentional -- maybe it got away from him as well -- but you see something like that, and you kind of feel like an even bigger idiot, knowing that could have hurt him and done whatever, and that was because of me."
With the crowd booing, Ramirez hit a single to right field and then left the game himself because of cramping in his right leg.
Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson couldn't come up with Jeff Keppinger's sinking liner to start the sixth and was charged with an error. After a walk and a strikeout, Gordon Beckham singled and the 25-year-old Phegley followed with a grand slam in his 18th major league at-bat.
"Especially for Sale, we needed to get him a win," Phegley said. "He threw well and he deserved it."
Phegley is 4 for 20 now -- with three homers.
Ramirez opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double, but Matt Tuiasosopo put the Tigers ahead with a two-run homer in the second.
Cabrera's solo shot increased his RBI total to 94. He's the first player to reach 30 homers and 90 RBIs before the All-Star break, according to STATS. A pair of Cincinnati Reds -- Tony Perez in 1970 and George Foster in 1977 -- made it to 29 and 90.
... Chicago RHP Jake Peavy (fractured left rib) is scheduled for a rehab game Sunday with Double-A Birmingham at Huntsville. ... Detroit hosts Texas on Friday night, with RHP Doug Fister (6-5) taking the mound against RHP Justin Grimm (7-6) of the Rangers. The White Sox play at Philadelphia. Chicago LHP John Danks (2-5) takes on Philadelphia RHP Jonathan Pettibone (5-3).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
DETROIT, MI - JULY 11: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers in the first...(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|Detroit leads 12-7 (as of Thu 7/11)|
|Tue 7/9||CHW 11, @DET 4||Recap|
|Wed 7/10||@DET 8, CHW 5||Recap|
|» Thu 7/11||CHW 6, @DET 3||Box Score|
|Mon 7/22||DET 7, @CHW 3||Recap|
|Tue 7/23||DET 6, @CHW 2||Recap|
|Wed 7/24||DET 6, @CHW 2||Recap|
|Thu 7/25||@CHW 7, DET 4||Recap|
|Fri 8/2||@DET 2, CHW 1||Recap|
|Sat 8/3||@DET 3, CHW 0||Recap|
|Sun 8/4||@DET 3, CHW 2||Recap|
|Mon 8/12||@CHW 6, DET 2||Recap|
|Tue 8/13||@CHW 4, DET 3||Recap|
|Wed 8/14||DET 6, @CHW 4||Recap|
|Mon 9/9||@CHW 5, DET 1||Recap|
|Tue 9/10||DET 9, @CHW 1||Recap|
|Wed 9/11||DET 1, @CHW 0||Recap|
|Fri 9/20||@DET 12, CHW 5||Recap|
|Sat 9/21||@DET 7, CHW 6||Recap|
|Sun 9/22||CHW 6, @DET 3||Recap|
|Complete Schedule: White Sox | Tigers|
|1st||A Ramirez doubled to left, A De Aza scored.||1||0|
|2nd||M Tuiasosopo homered to right (355 feet), V Martinez scored.||1||2|
|5th||M Cabrera homered to right (389 feet).||1||3|
|6th||J Phegley homered to left (369 feet), J Keppinger, C Gillaspie and G Beckham scored.||5||3|
|8th||A De Aza homered to right (374 feet).||6||3|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Comerica Park, Detroit, MI|
|Attendance||40,444 (98% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||76 degrees, partly cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Will Little|
From Elias: The White Sox and Tigers will have plenty of chances to re-visit Thursday's bench-clearing brawl. FROM ELIAS: Those 2 teams play 16 head-to-head games after the All-Star break this season, most among any 2 teams in the majors.[+]
MOST MEETINGS AFTER ALL-STAR BREAK THIS SEASON - SOURCE: ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU
Cured curveball woes: Last season Cabrera hit .219 without a single home run, but this year he's batting .325 with 4 homers against curveballs. The 106-point jump is his most among all pitches from last season to this season. Cabrera's BA rank among AL hitters vs curveballs this season is 15th compared to 43rd last season. Loving Lefties: Last season Cabrera hit .344 against lefties, which is a really good number ... until you see that he's hitting .423 against them this season, the best BA in MLB. Plus he's hitting for power as his home run per fly ball rate shot up from 10% to 39% over the last 2 seasons. Chasing less: This season Cabrera's chase percentage (swings on pitches out of the zone) is down 28.6 from 32.2. He's also handled bad pitches better as his batting average on pitches out of the zone is .273 (27-99) compared to .218 (29-133) last season.
Miguel Cabrera reached 30 HR in the Tigers' 91st game of the season. The only Tigers player to get there faster was Hank Greenberg, who hit his 30th in their 87th game of 1938.
With his 30th HR of the season today, Miguel Cabrera is the first player in MLB history with 30 home runs AND 90 RBI before the All-Star break.
Chris Sale throws his slider 28 percent of the time and is holding opponents to a .144 batting average against the pitch, which ranks seventh best among qualified pitchers. But he faces a tough-hitting Tigers team that is the best in baseball in terms of batting average and home runs against the slider. Sale has 54 strikeouts with his slider, but the Tigers rank second best in strikeout rate at 26 percent.
Miguel Cabrera has hit at lest 30 HR in 9 of his first 11 seasons. Only one player in MLB history has more 30 HR seasons within his first 11 seasons.[+]
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