Tigers win on Hunter's RBI in 12th

Richard L. Shook, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DETROIT - Instead of taking a walk, Torii Hunter took a stroll.
Hunter lined an RBI single to left-center field with one out in the 12th inning on Sunday that scored pinch-runner Matt Tuiasosopo from second base and gave the Detroit Tigers their eighth straight victory, a 3-2 win that sent the Chicago White Sox to their 10th straight loss.
Miguel Cabrera, in the process of sitting out a fourth straight game because of an abdominal strain, pinch-hit to lead off the 12th inning and grounded a single up the middle.
Tuiasosopo pinch-ran and slumping Austin Jackson sacrificed him to second before Hunter lined a 2-0 pitch to left center to drive in the winning run against Dylan Axelrod (3-8).
"I thought they would pitch around me," said Hunter, a non-starter who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 10th. "Get me to chase something. I was looking for a strike and I got a slider. I put a good swing on it."
So instead of drawing a walk, bringing up Don Kelly, he strolled to first while the winning run was scoring.
Rookie Bruce Rondon (1-1) pitched the last two innings for Detroit, allowing one hit, to pick up the win.
The White Sox have now lost nine walk-off games this season, most in the Majors.
The decision to pinch-hit Cabrera couldn't have been easy, either. While running to first he showed that he's hurting, and after the game he had a large six-inch bandage he was stuffing in his personal bag.
"It's a tough situation for a manager to be in," Tigers' skipper Jim Leyland said. "It has to be a perfect scenario if you're going to pinch-hit him. 'What situation can I get him up there that they can't walk him?'
"Leading off is one of those."
Drew Smyly got the Tigers out of a jam in the eighth but began the ninth by giving up a tying leadoff home run to Paul Konerko, making it 2-2.
The White Sox muffed an opportunity to tie the score in the eighth after Alejandro De Aza doubled to lead off the inning. He was sacrificed to third but made the mistake of heading home on Alex Rios' liner to center and had to go back to tag up, which prevented him from scoring. Smyly came on to strike out Adam Dunn to end the threat.
Another goof on the bases hurt Chicago in the 10th when Tyler Flowers was doubled off second with one out on a liner that Jhonny Peralta caught over the shoulder while racing into shallow left.
"That was a line drive," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "You've got to make it back. On the other one, he might have been doubled up at home plate anyway."
Rookie Andre Rienzo (0-1) stymied Detroit for six innings in his second major league start, but he walked the first two batters in the seventh and set up the Tigers for two runs and a 2-1 lead.
Alex Avila lofted an RBI double to right-center to tie the score, and reliever Nate Jones got Jose Iglesias on a grounder to short that kept the status quo. But Ramon Santiago lined a sacrifice fly to center to bring in the go-ahead run for the Tigers.
"He was sharp," Ventura said of the Brazilian native. "He pitched well. There was just that little blip where he walked two guys. Avila doubled. Andre can learn from that. You can't put men on."
Dunn's long home run into the second tier of shrubbery in center, his 26th homer of the season, had given Chicago a 1-0 lead in the fourth. It was measured at 462 feet, one of the longest in Comerica Park history.
NOTES: After the game Detroit announced it was purchasing the contract of former Tiger Jeremy Bonderman from Triple-A Toledo and optioning out right-hander Evan Reed. Bonderman, a starter in the past, will work out of the Tigers' bullpen in long relief. ... Konerko was Chicago's DH, switching with Dunn, after playing first base on Saturday night for the first time since coming off the disabled list on July 21. Ventura didn't want to play him in the field for a day game after a night game, marking his return to defense. ... Detroit activated LHP Darin Downs (left shoulder) from a rehab assignment before the game and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo, for whom he had been pitching. ... Chicago rookie C Josh Phegley, 4-for-33 with one RBI in his previous 11 games, was given a rest Sunday with Flowers behind the plate.

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