Tigers complete sweep of White Sox; Miguel Cabrera hits 300th HR
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org July 22, 2012 8:38PM
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera (right) gets a hug from teammate Prince Fielder after hitting his 300th career home run in the third inning Sunday. | AP
Updated: August 24, 2012 6:13AM
DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers showed the White Sox who’s boss in the American League Central, completing a three-game sweep with a 6-4 victory Sunday that chased the Sox out of town trailing the new
division leaders by 11/2 games.
Somehow, the gap seems larger than that. A late-July spanking and a five-game losing streak will do that.
The Sox (50-45) concluded a 3-7 road trip that began with two victories in three games against the Kansas City Royals before it went south with a 1-3 series against the Boston Red Sox.
When the trip began, the Sox were three games ahead of the
Tigers, who rudely tossed them into the wild-card pack with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians and most of the AL East. The good news for wild-card players is there are two berths this season, not one.
The bad news for the Sox was right-hander Philip Humber’s performance. In his second start since returning from the disabled list, Humber was roughed up for four home runs, including the 299th and 300th of Miguel Cabrera’s career. Cabrera’s bombs traveled 426 and 457 feet, making Brennan Boesch’s and Quintin Berry’s homers look relatively tame.
‘‘Short’’ was how Humber aptly described his three-inning performance. His stuff was fine, he said, but his location wasn’t. That’s
never good against the Tigers’ heavy-duty lineup.
‘‘It all happened so fast,’’ Humber said. ‘‘It wasn’t like I felt like there was anything in particular. I got a few pitches up, and they didn’t miss them.’’
Humber yielded seven hits and a walk while striking out none. The way things have been going for the Sox, who had scored a combined five runs in their previous four losses, it felt like the outcome was all but settled early.
But hitless relief work by Hector Santiago, Nate Jones and Donnie Veal, including 31/3 innings by Santiago, and homers by Alex Rios and Kevin Youkilis pulled the Sox to 6-4 in the seventh.
Rios’ homer in the sixth caromed off the shed in the bullpen and back onto the field — it required a replay review by the umpires to confirm it — and chased 21-year-old Jacob Turner. After Adam Dunn followed Youkilis’ blast in the seventh with a walk, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit shut down the Sox the rest of the way.
The Tigers have hit their stride, with 13 victories in their last 15 games.
‘‘They’re good,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘Everyone knew they were good all year. You’ve got to be able to stay with them.
‘‘Cabrera is tough. . . . With him and Prince, they’re the toughest 3-4 in the league for a lot of teams to face. Miggy might be the best hitter in the game, and Prince might be the smartest. And he can hit.’’
As for his own team, which plays three games at home against the Minnesota Twins before returning to the road for a trip to Toronto and Minneapolis, Ventura said: ‘‘You’ve got to be able to play both sides together. You have to pitch, play defense and score to win a lot of games in a row. . . . Right now, if we’re giving up runs, we’re not scoring any. If we’re scoring, we give it up.’’
Dunn, who singled and scored two runs to climb out of an 0-for-15 rut, said the Tigers are playing like the Sox did during their hot streak before the All-Star break. Better to lose to them now than later, he said.
‘‘If we’re playing like this in late August or September, then you’ve got to be a little worried,’’ he said. ‘‘No one is doing anything offensively. It puts a lot of pressure on our pitchers because they know.’’