White Sox comeback bid falls short against Tigers

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Sox observations: 9th-inning comeback falls short originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

One day after a thrilling extra-innings win against the Twins, the White Sox bats fell silent. Tigers starter Beau Brieske deserves credit for spinning a gem on Thursday night, but it doesn’t lessen the disappointment of losing  2-1 after an energizing 9-8 win, and squandering another excellent effort from Dylan Cease. The team nearly dug back into their bag of tricks for another walkoff win, but with the winning run on second base and only one out José Abreu struck out swinging on a ball a foot off the plate, and Eloy Jiménez grounded out to seal the loss. The team will try to rebound on Friday when Lucas Giolito starts opposite Tarik Skubal.

BEAU BRIESKE FLIRTS WITH NO-HITTER

For five innings, Brieske dominated White Sox hitters. He had full command of the strike zone, and rarely made mistakes for the Sox to punish. He worked both sides of the plate. He changed batters’ eye levels by working up and down the zone. Most of all Brieske was aggressive. He threw first pitch strikes to 11 of 16 batters, and continued to attack hitters once he got ahead in the count. But to lead off the sixth inning Josh Harrison laid off a pitch that was outside the zone to get into a rare hitters count. One pitch later he was able to stay with a slider and deposited the ball into left field for the White Sox’ first hit. After a single from José Abreu in the seventh inning, Brieske’s night was done.

TIGERS DEFENSE UP TO THE TASK

Of course any time a pitcher puts together a performance like this, he has help from his defense. DeWayne Wise’s catch to preserve Mark Buehrle’s game comes to mind, or José Abreu racing to the bag to preserve Carlos Rodón’s no-no last season. The Tigers bailed Brieske out a couple of times, too. First was Jonathan Schoop who made a phenomenal leaping grab on a Tim Anderson line drive to prevent a hit in the third inning. Then in the fifth inning, Jeimer Candelario made a diving stop on an Eloy Jiménez liner to keep the no-hitter going. While the Tigers couldn’t put together a no-hitter, they did continue to play strong defense throughout the game to hold the White Sox to just one run.

DYLAN CEASE TAMES TIGERS, AGAIN

No team has struggled more against Dylan Cease than the Tigers, in his short career. Coming into Thursday’s game, Cease had held Tigers hitters to a .226/.285/.366 slashline. He’d only given up 13 earned runs to them in 11 games, good for a 1.91 ERA. All of that translated into a perfect 10-0 record for Cease against the Tigers. On Thursday it was a bit more of a grind for Cease, as he fell behind hitters throughout the game and had to work around three walks, but ultimately he was just as effective at keeping the Tigers off the board. Particularly impressive was Cease striking out three batters in succession after starting the second inning with a walk and a single. Cease’s only blemish was a solo home run by Javier Báez through six innings. Normally that’d be good enough for a win, but Brieske was better, and Cease lost for the first time against Detroit.

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