Matt Manning struggles, comeback falls short in Detroit Tigers' 8-7 loss to White Sox

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Detroit Tigers rookie Matt Manning threw the baseball 33 times in the fourth inning.

On Monday afternoon, the former first-round draft pick made the second-to-last start of his first season in the big leagues. As for those 33 pitches, Manning's mistakes doomed him, and the Chicago White Sox chased him.

The right-hander yielded six runs and recorded one out in the fourth frame. Manager AJ Hinch — who hasn't been afraid to let his young arms develop through their hardships — couldn't take it anymore. He trotted to the mound, swiped the ball from Manning and called reliever Bryan Garcia out of the bullpen.

Manning received cheers from a few of the 11,044 fans in the stands, but he didn't pitch well in the Tigers' 8-7 loss against the American League Central-leading White Sox in the final home game at Comerica Park this season.

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Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws against the White Sox in the first inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws against the White Sox in the first inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.

In Monday's makeup game from a Sept. 22 postponement, the Tigers (75-81) nearly mounted a comeback behind five runs in the eighth inning.

Miguel Cabrera started the rally by doubling for hit No. 2,986 across his 19-year MLB career. He needs 14 more hits with six games remaining to reach 3,000, meaning the Tigers will likely wait until the 2022 season to celebrate another milestone.

Cabrera, who finished 2-for-4 in Monday's loss, is three doubles away from 600, as well. He was pulled for pinch-runner Zack Short, who later popped out to end the eighth. Following Cabrera's double, Jeimer Candelario (walk) and Isaac Paredes (hit-by-pitch) reached safely to load the bases.

Eric Haase drove home two runs with his single to left field, cutting the Tigers' deficit to 8-4.

Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera hits career number 2,985 in the first inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera hits career number 2,985 in the first inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.

For two more runs, Niko Goodrum tripled to the right-field corner. Standing on third base, Willi Castro struck out swinging on three pitches for the first out in the eighth. Still, Jonathan Schoop made sure Goodrum scored — cutting the score to 8-7 — on a sacrifice fly to right field.

In the ninth inning, Tigers reliever Alex Lange drilled White Sox slugger Jose Abreu with a 97 mph fastball. White Sox bench coach Miguel Cairo was ejected, as members of Chicago's coaching staff barked across the diamond at Hinch.

Moments later, Abreu slid recklessly into Goodrum on a groundout. The dugouts and bullpens emptied onto the field. Although no punches appeared to be thrown, the teams had a standoff behind second base. Despite the skirmish, Cairo was the only person tossed from the game.

What happened to Manning?

Manning needed 25 pitches in the first inning, 13 in the second, 11 in the third and 33 to get one out in the fourth. He worked around two walks in the first and a leadoff single in the second before posting a perfect third inning.

Everything crumbled in the fourth inning.

Abreu opened with a line-drive out on four pitches, then the next eight batters reached safely. The inning didn't end until Abreu — batting for the second time in the fourth — grounded into a double play.

After Abreu's first at-bat, Yasmani Grandal pounded a solo home run over the left-center wall. Manning had fallen behind with back-to-back balls, and in a hitter's count, Grandal slugged his 23rd homer this season on a two-seam fastball. His long ball tied the game, 1-1.

The 23-year-old then walked Eloy Jimenez on seven pitches and Yoan Moncada on four pitches. Following a mound visit from pitching coach Chris Fetter, Manning issued another free pass to Andrew Vaughn on nine pitches.

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White Sox second baseman Cesar Hernandez reacts to hitting a two-run double against the Tigers in the fourth inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.
White Sox second baseman Cesar Hernandez reacts to hitting a two-run double against the Tigers in the fourth inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.

Manning fell behind 2-0 to Jimenez, Moncada and Vaughn. The three consecutive walks loaded the bases for the White Sox. Cesar Hernandez attacked by driving a first-pitch fastball, which traveled down the heart of the strike zone, to left field. Two runs scored, giving the White Sox a 3-1 advantage.

The next batter, Zack Collins, drilled a two-run single to right.

With Garcia replacing Manning on the mound, Luis Robert put a first-pitch slider into center field for an RBI double to put the White Sox ahead 6-1. Because Garcia inherited Collins on first base, the sixth run was charged to Manning.

Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws against the White Sox during the second inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws against the White Sox during the second inning on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at Comerica Park.

In his 17th MLB start, Manning allowed six runs on four hits and five walks, pushing his season-long ERA to 6.16. He struck out three and fired 46 of 82 pitches for strikes — throwing 43 four-seam fastballs (52%), 14% two-seam fastballs (17%), 11 sliders (13%), eight curveballs (10%) and six changeups (7%).

Manning's previous start came Sept. 20 in a 4-3 win over the White Sox. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts. And over his last three starts, the rookie boasted a 3.21 ERA, six walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 innings.

But this time, the White Sox chased him with authority.

Schoop's HR

The Tigers scored first in the second inning on Akil Baddoo's RBI single to left field. They waited until the fifth to pick up their second run.

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Facing White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel, Jonathan Schoop took a hack at a 89 mph fastball. His swing resulted in his 21st home run, which traveled 375 feet to left field. (In the first inning, Schoop extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single.)

The solo blast in the fifth was Schoop's first home run since Sept. 10. Keuchel conceded two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out two and throwing 52 of 91 pitches for strikes.

Two more for ChiSox

The White Sox seemingly put the game out of reach in the seventh inning, when Jimenez crushed a 432-foot two-run home run to center field. He got ahold of left-handed reliever Ian Krol's slider to give the White Sox an 8-2 lead.

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After Garcia pitched 1⅔ innings in relief of Manning's poor start, the Tigers went to Krol for the sixth and seventh innings. Rookie right-hander Jason Foley kept the White Sox scoreless in the eighth, and after the Tigers scored five runs in the eighth, Lange pitched the ninth.

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' comeback falls short in 8-7 loss to Chicago White Sox