Detroit Tigers drop slugfest to Chicago White Sox, 9-8, in ninth inning

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Everything went downhill when Detroit Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull left the game.

To make matters worse, Turnbull didn't leave because of his pitch count, or because he got knocked around by the American League Central-leading Chicago White Sox. Instead, he was pulled after four innings because of right forearm tightness.

The White Sox scored five runs in the fifth inning, but the Tigers (23-34) countered with six runs in the seventh inning to take the lead. Still, Detroit was stunned in a 9-8 loss Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field on a walk-off single from Yermin Mercedes off Jose Cisnero in the bottom of the ninth inning.

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Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal (24) hits a homer against Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (56) during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.
Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal (24) hits a homer against Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (56) during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.

The Tigers have lost 13 of their past 14 games against the White Sox.

A wild ending

After Dallas Keuchel carried the White Sox through six innings, reliever Codi Heuer stumbled to allow the Tigers' comeback. He walked Zack Short, allowed a double to Willi Castro and walked Derek Hill to load the bases with no outs in the seventh, leading White Sox manager Tony La Russa to replace him with Evan Marshall.

Robbie Grossman's sacrifice fly pulled the Tigers to within four runs, and Jonathan Schoop crushed his second home run — a three-run blast — to cut his team's deficit to 7-6. Schoop finished 4-for-4 with one double, two home runs, five RBIs and one walk.

Then, Eric Haase punished Marshall's fastball for a 427-foot two-run home run, giving the Tigers an 8-7 lead with two outs in the seventh.

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Just as the Tigers responded in the top of the seventh, the White Sox evened the score in the bottom of the inning against reliever Rony Garcia. He lost the lead on Yasmani Grandal's second solo home run.

Attacking the bullpen

With Turnbull unable to continue, the White Sox beat up the bullpen. They scored five runs in the fifth inning and forced the Tigers to use two relievers — righties Kyle Funkhouser and Joe Jimenez — to get three outs.

Funkhouser and Jimenez struggled with their command, but the defense didn't help. The Tigers committed three errors in the fifth: Schoop (missed catch error) at first base, Haase (fielding error) at catcher and Castro (throwing error) at second base.

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Funkhouser (36) throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.
Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Funkhouser (36) throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.

Against Funkhouser, the White Sox scored five runs (two earned runs) on two hits and two walks. One of Funkhouser's baserunners scored against Jimenez, who loaded the bases — for the second time in the inning — before Jake Lamb flied out to left field.

Jimenez walked two batters but escaped the bases-loaded jam. Funkhouser threw 16 of 28 pitches for strikes to get one out, while Jimenez fired 11 of 21 pitches for strikes to generate two outs.

The White Sox tacked on their seventh run with a solo homer from Nick Madrigal off lefty reliever Tyler Alexander in the seventh inning.

Turnbull solid until injury

After launching one of the ChiSox's three home runs against Casey Mize in Thursday's series opener, which ended in a 4-1 loss for the Tigers, Grandal picked up where he left off with a home run to left-center field in the second inning.

Before the home run, Turnbull fell behind 3-0 in the count.

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But Turnbull was dialed in for his ninth start this season. The only other hit he allowed was an infield single by Nick Madrigal on a tough play for Short at shortstop. He ranged to his left and bobbled the ball near the middle of the infield.

Turnbull battled with Mercedes for 12 pitches — including eight foul balls — before striking him out with a 3-2 fastball to complete the fourth inning. Upon returning to the dugout, Turnbull chatted with athletic training Doug Teter.

That's when Funkhouser started to warm in the bullpen.

Turnbull did not return for the fifth inning. He was removed after throwing 56 pitches (39 strikes) with a forearm injury. He gave up one run on two hits, picking up four strikeouts without a walk, to lower his season-long ERA to 2.88.

Schoop does damage

If it weren't for Schoop, the Tigers would not have made the game interesting.

Keuchel gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk across six innings, with three strikeouts. Both of those runs came from Schoop, who is on a tear in his past 19 games, dating to May 15: 28-for-76 (.368) with seven homers and 18 RBIs.

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Detroit Tigers' Jonathan Schoop, left, crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (not shown) during the sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.
Detroit Tigers' Jonathan Schoop, left, crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (not shown) during the sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, June 4, 2021.

Schoop doubled in the third inning to score Grossman from first base. He added a solo home run in the sixth inning and a three-run homer — his ninth blast this season — in the seventh inning.

For his first home run, Schoop lined Keuchel's two-seam fastball 364 feet to left field. The second home run came on Marshall's changeup and traveled 379 feet to left-center field.

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Castro went 3-for-3 with one double and one walk. In his past nine games, he is 11-for-27 (.407) with two home runs, nine RBIs, three walks and five strikeouts.

Miguel Cabrera finished 1-for-5. His single in the seventh inning set up Haase for his two-run homer to center field, but he was robbed of extra bases on a flyout to White Sox center fielder Billy Hamilton in the ninth inning.

Jeimer Candelario's 29-game on-base streak was snapped with an 0-for-5 performance.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers drop slugfest to Chicago White Sox in ninth inning