Eric Haase's bat, Tarik Skubal's arm guide Detroit Tigers to 4-3 win over White Sox

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While Detroit Tigers starter Tarik Skubal pitched aggressively through five innings, Eric Haase stole the spotlight, homering twice in a game for the third time this season and carrying the Tigers to a 4-3 victory Saturday against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Entering Saturday, Detroit had lost 13 of its past 14 games to the White Sox.

"We know the White Sox are always going to be a thorn in our side," Haase said after Friday's 9-8 loss on a walk-off single. "They're going to be that team that doesn't go away, that continues to put on pressure. I feel like we can be that exact same team."

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Tigers left fielder Eric Haase is congratulated by designated hitter Miguel Cabrera after hitting a two-run home run against the White Sox during the second inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.
Tigers left fielder Eric Haase is congratulated by designated hitter Miguel Cabrera after hitting a two-run home run against the White Sox during the second inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.

The White Sox scored two runs in the sixth off reliever Derek Holland, cutting the Tigers' lead to one run. But right-hander Kyle Funkhouser cleaned up the mess. He also pitched a scoreless seventh inning, which ended with a strikeout and caught stealing by catcher Jake Rogers.

Gregory Soto struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning, and Jose Cisnero picked up the first save of his career with a scoreless ninth.

Haase finished 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. Skubal provided five innings of one-run ball on four hits and three walks, striking out 11. The left-hander threw struck out 11 batters, throwing 72 of 103 pitches for strikes. He registered 20 swings and misses and 17 called strikes.

Skubal posts 11 strikeouts

For the first out in the fourth inning, Skubal struck out Andrew Vaughn on four pitches to achieve his eighth strikeout against the White Sox.

He became the 10th pitcher in franchise history with eight-plus strikeouts in at least four consecutive games, joining Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Matthew Boyd, Jack Morris, Hal Newhouser, Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, Anibal Sanchez and Les Cain.

Scherzer leads the way, producing 10 games in a row with eight-plus strikeouts. He is followed by Boyd (seven consecutive games), Newhouser (seven) and Verlander (twice with six and once with five). Both Morris and McLain reached eight strikeouts in five consecutive games.

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Of Skubal's eight outs from the start of the second inning until two outs in the fourth, he produced eight strikeouts. His streak was snapped by Zack Collins, who flied out to center field to end the fourth. At this point, he had nine total strikeouts.

Skubal's most impressive strikeout occurred against Jose Abreu with two outs and runners on the corners in the third inning. He sent down Abreu swinging at a 96 mph fastball to strand the runners without damage.

Another big moment came in the fifth, when Skubal struck out Yoan Moncada and got Abreu to fly out to center field, stranding runners on first and second base — both reaching via walks — to conclude his outing.

Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal throws against the White Sox during the first inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.
Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal throws against the White Sox during the first inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.

Chicago scored its only run against Skubal in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Tim Anderson opened the game with a double to left field and scored on a single from Nick Madrigal that deflected off shortstop Harold Castro's glove. Skubal retired the next three batters.

In the fifth inning, Skubal struck out Danny Mendick swinging for a career-high 10 strikeouts, then struck out Moncada for his 11th and final strikeout. He previously had nine strikeouts May 19 against the Seattle Mariners, nine strikeouts May 25 against Cleveland eight strikeouts May 30 against the New York Yankees.

Hammerin' Haase (x2)

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead against Skubal in the first inning, but Haase helped his starter pound the strike zone by giving him a lead, 2-1, in the second inning. He hammered Chicago starter Lucas Giolito's changeup for a two-run blast to left-center field.

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito throws against the Tigers during the first inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.
White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito throws against the Tigers during the first inning on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Chicago.

Later in the second, the Tigers (24-34) stranded runners on second and third base. Derek Hill popped out to shortstop and Robbie Grossman struck out swinging. Giolito pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He struck out eight and did not allow a walk.

But Haase continued to rake against Giolito in the fourth inning, belting a slider to left-center field — his seventh home run this season — for 3-1 lead.

In his past four games, Haase is 6-for-12 with five home runs, seven RBIs, three walks and five strikeouts. He previously had two-homer games May 17 against the Mariners and Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Since 1947, Haase's three multi-homer contests is tied with Matt Nokes (1987) for the most by a Tiger in a rookie season.

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Miggy homers

For the first time since May 21, Miguel Cabrera sent a baseball over the fence for a home run. He tagged Giolito's fastball in the sixth inning to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. The ball traveled 410 feet to center field.

The 38-year-old finished 2-for-4 to boost his batting average to .196 in 41 games.

Cabrera's home run was the 492nd in his MLB career, putting him one away from tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th place on the all-time leaderboard. He is eight home runs away from No. 500 in his 19-year career.

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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: Eric Haase, Tarik Skubal guide Detroit Tigers to 4-3 win vs. White Sox