DETROIT — Mikie Mahtook gave the Detroit Tigers a reason to smile amid a miserable end to the 2017 season.
Mahtook hit a game-ending RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting Detroit over the Chicago White Sox 3-2 to end a six-game skid. It was a high point for a team limping to the finish after trading away stars Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton.
“Any time you can walk off a game, it is fun,” Mahtook said. “I don’t care if you are 100 games ahead or 100 games behind.”
Mahtook was playing for the first time since Sept. 8 due to a groin strain.
“I felt better every at-bat, so I knew I just needed to put a good swing on the ball,” said Mahtook, who picked up the first game-ending hit of his career.
The win ended Detroit’s six-game losing streak and was just their third victory of September.
“We haven’t been winning a lot of games lately, so this was fun,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “The crowd was into it, and we gave them a good win.”
Former Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque (0-2) walked Jeimer Candelario with one out in the ninth, and Aaron Bummer walked Tyler Collins with two outs. White Sox manager Rick Renteria brought in his third pitcher of the inning, Juan Minaya, who uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third.
Mahtook then hit a 3-2 pitch up the middle for his first career walk-off hit.
“We’ve asked Minny to fill a lot of roles for us, and he’s been great,” Renteria said. “We were just hoping he could get that last out, because we had our best hitters coming up in the 10th.”
With the game tied at 1, Collins hit a one-out homer in the seventh off reliever Gregory Infante.
The White Sox answered by putting two runners on with two out in the eighth. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus brought in Shane Greene (4-3) for a four-out save attempt, but Matt Davidson hit his fourth pitch for a game-tying single. Greene finished the game and got the win.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed one run and six hits in six innings. He struck out 11 — his 14th double-digit strikeout game and first since Aug. 7, 2016 against the New York Mets.
Chicago’s Carson Fulmer gave up one run and four hits in six innings. In his last four outings, including two starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA.
“I’m really trying to keep this level of performance going from game to game, and I felt like I stayed in that groove tonight,” Fulmer said. “I’m comfortable on the mound, and I’m executing my pitches.”
Yoan Moncada gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the third, hitting his second homer in two days and sixth of the season. Moncada had four hits and scored five times in Chicago’s 17-7 win on Thursday.
“He’s been grinding at this for a while, but in the last couple weeks, we’re seeing him give us better at-bats against breaking balls,” Renteria said. “He’s starting to put the barrel on the ball, and that’s when he’s going to do some damage.”
Alex Presley and Miguel Cabrera led off the fourth with singles, putting runners on the corners, and Nicholas Castellanos tied the game with a base hit to left. Fulmer, though, retired the next three batters to escape further damage.
White Sox: OF Willy Garcia (concussion, fractured jaw) was activated from the disabled list after playing five rehab games for Class A Kannapolis. Garcia has been sidelined since a collision with Moncada on July 31. … OF Rymer Liriano will miss the rest of the series to be with his wife as she gives birth.