CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia came back to hurt his old team, as his single to center with one out in the eighth scored pinch-runner J.B. Shuck with the deciding run in the White Sox 7-4 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. It was an especially tough loss for the Tigers, who had a one-run advantage entering the White Sox four-run eighth and could have forged a tie for the American League's second Wild Card spot with Baltimore prior to a three-game series between the two clubs this weekend in Detroit.
"Not getting the series win is frustrating, but at the end of the day, we've got to show up at the ballpark on Friday," said Tigers catcher James McCann, who went 1-for-3 and scored a run. "We've got a big series [against] Baltimore."
Shane Greene suffered the loss, as three of the four White Sox hitters he faced made hard contact. Jose Abreu, who had three hits and is now hitting .298, ripped an 0-2 pitch to left for a leadoff single, which was followed by Justin Morneau's run-scoring double to right-center. After Todd Frazier grounded back to Greene, Garcia brought home Shuck on a 1-1 fastball with a grounder up the middle. Tyler Saladino drove in the White Sox sixth run with a single to left, and Adam Eaton added a run-scoring single.
"It's just the ball was in the middle [of the plate]," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Greene's performance. "The two balls that were hit to start off the inning by Abreu and Morneau were over the plate. It's just as simple as that. He's just not getting the ball where he quite wants to. When he locates, he's going to be completely fine. I still have confidence in him. Even the best relievers have off days."
Chris Beck earned the victory in relief of Jose Quintana, who allowed four runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. Quintana walked McCann with two outs in the seventh and then gave up a single to Casey McGehee and Jose Iglesias' ground-rule double to give Detroit a 4-3 advantage. But with runners on second and third, Beck retired Ian Kinsler on a fly ball to right to limit the damage. Justin Upton propelled the Tigers to an early 3-1 lead with a three-run blast in the second, giving him 22 home runs and 70 RBIs on the season.
"We had some late life there but Q threw a good game," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's as solid as anybody. You're just kind of hoping he would be able to get through that one, and at least they got him off the hook."
Anibal Sanchez started for the Tigers and yielded three runs on eight hits over five innings, striking out three and walking one. He gave way to the bullpen, which threw two scoreless innings before Greene entered.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Still scorching: There are very few hitters as hot as Upton right now. His three-run shot continued a torrid stretch. He's belted nine homers in the past 16 games. During that stretch, Upton is hitting .344 with 24 RBIs. He also smacked a pair of late-inning homers this week to give Detroit leads that held up for wins.
Don't give up the fight: The White Sox didn't exactly knock the baseball around the ballpark in the third, but they still managed to score two runs and tie the game. Saladino singled and moved to second when Eaton drew a walk. One out later, with runners at second and third, Melky Cabrera lofted a fly ball to left that hung up for a bit. Upton was playing deep and came up just short on the attempted catch, and Saladino scored. Abreu followed with a game-tying sacrifice fly, arguably the hardest-hit ball of the frame.
Close call: The Tigers appear to have dodged an injury following an awkward slide by designated hitter Victor Martinez. After grounding a single off third base to start the fourth, Martinez tried stretching it into a double. Cabrera's throw beat him to second, and Martinez was shaken up after his slide. He got to his feet and limped back into the dugout, but stayed in the game. Detroit is already without third baseman Nick Castellanos (broken hand) and just got second baseman Kinsler (finger) back from a two-game absence.
"He's always going to have issues with the knees," Ausmus said. "He just kind of tweaked it a little bit when he went into the slide, but within 10 minutes he thought he'd be fine and within 20 minutes he was fine. Other than him having knee surgeries twice over the last five years? No, no concern whatsoever."
Baserunning blunder: Three one-out hits from Tim Anderson, Cabrera and Abreu produced the White Sox first run in the first inning, but it also produced their second out and cut short a potential big inning. Abreu's single to right was hit hard enough that Cabrera held up at third, but Abreu made too big of a turn past first and was trapped in a rundown when Miguel Cabrera cut off the throw. Melky Cabrera broke for the plate as the Tigers tracked Abreu, and eventually was tagged out. Morneau grounded out to end the frame.
"Right now, we don't have the 'E' of elimination anywhere in our name. I know that the situation for us is very complicated, is very hard. Probably, we aren't going to make the playoffs. But our desire every single day is to try to win games no matter who is the opponent, who is the rival. Our goal every day is to win games." -- Abreu, through interpreter Billy Russo
"No, I sat on it." -- Kinsler, when asked if he did anything to his split fingernail to help speed up his recovery
Kinsler singled to lead off the sixth, but he was quickly picked off by Quintana. Detroit challenged the call, but the ruling was confirmed after a review that lasted 70 seconds.
In the seventh, the Tigers had a review go their way. A crew-chief review overturned a call of safe on Eaton's bunt to start the White Sox half of the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Rookie Michael Fulmer will start the opener of a big series against the Orioles, who lead Detroit by one game for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Fulmer allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles on May 15 at Camden Yards in his lone career outing vs. Baltimore. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
White Sox:Carlos Rodon begins a three-game set against the Royals on Friday night, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. CT. Rodon will make his career-high 24th start. He is 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in his last six starts.