Detroit Tigers stomped by playoff-bound Chicago White Sox, 8-1, in series opener

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CHICAGO — Wily Peralta worked out of jams throughout the early innings of his start, but he was later overwhelmed by aggressive base running, defensive mistakes and a hefty workload, as the Detroit Tigers were throttled by their American League Central rivals.

The Chicago White Sox created havoc for three runs in the fourth inning. Unlike recent matchups, the Tigers couldn't keep up with Chicago's toughness, nor could they mount a comeback, in Friday's 8-1 loss in the three-game series opener in front of 30,729 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Detroit has lost five of its past six games.

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Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox points to the sky after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox points to the sky after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

The Tigers (76-84) spiraled in the bottom of the fourth inning. The troubles began when Gavin Sheets dropped Peralta's two-strike splitter into center for a single. But the issues quickly worsened, even though Cesar Hernandez hit a ground ball to first baseman Jonathan Schoop.

Upon fielding the ball, Schoop threw toward second, attempting to turn a double play.

But the ball deflected off Sheets' back for a throwing error, advancing both runners into scoring position. The White Sox capitalized with Tim Anderson's RBI single to left fielder Robbie Grossman, who made an uncharacteristic throw that allowed Anderson to advance to second base on the play.

Just like that, the White Sox had a 2-1 lead.

They weren't going away.

Luis Robert and Jose Abreu chipped in RBIs for a 4-1 advantage with a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice, respectively. Abreu drove in his second run of the game on a grounder to shortstop Niko Goodrum, but it wouldn't have happened if not for Anderson. He used his speed to beat a throw home from Goodrum, who tried for the play at the plate instead of the sure out at first base.

White Sox starter Lance Lynn pitched five innings of one-run ball — striking out four and conceding just four hits and one walk. The bullpen picked up where its ace left off with scoreless efforts from Garrett Crochet in the sixth, Ryan Tepera in the seventh, Craig Kimbrel in the eighth and Liam Hendriks in the ninth.

Miguel Cabrera finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers reacts to a call during the fourth inning in the game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers reacts to a call during the fourth inning in the game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

Peralta grinds early; ChiSox strike again

The White Sox jumped Peralta in the third inning with Abreu's solo home run to left field for a 1-0 lead, but they had already made the Tigers' starter uncomfortable in the first and second.

Peralta escaped with the bases loaded in the first inning and stranded runners on the corners in the second. Following Abreu's 30th homer — a solo shot — in the third, the Tigers turned an inning-ending double play with another set of runners on the corners.

Peralta allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out three and fired 62 of 96 pitches for strikes. The 32-year-old veteran generated 13 swings and misses, including six with his esteemed splitter.

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Wily Peralta of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Oct. 1, 2021.
Wily Peralta of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Oct. 1, 2021.

In Peralta's final start of the season, he needed 27 pitches in the first inning, 13 in the second, nine in the third, 23 in the fourth, 12 in the fifth and 12 more in the sixth. Abreu's sixth-inning RBI double put the White Sox ahead 5-1.

The reigning AL MVP finished 2-for-4 with one walk and four RBIs, while Anderson went 4-for-4 with one walk and one RBI. Peralta finished the 2021 campaign with a 3.07 ERA, 38 walks and 58 strikeouts in 93⅔ innings over 19 games.

Facing right-handed reliever Bryan Garcia, the White Sox tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning. Garcia allowed three runs on four hits and two walks before lefty Ian Krol took over with two outs and the bases loaded.

Krol struck out Yasmani Grandal to avoid further damage.

How Tigers scored

The Tigers scored their lone run in the fourth inning.

Akil Baddoo won a nine-pitch battle with Lynn, which resulted in a line-drive single. He then stole second base — his 17th stolen base — to put himself in scoring position. Baddoo scored easily on Grossman's double to tie the game at 1-1.

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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 stomped by playoff-bound Chicago White Sox, 8-1