White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Tuesday afternoon that his team would not look at their two-game series with the Tigers as a “bad draw,” even though the Sox faced the challenge of right-handers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in back-to-back games.
Sox left-hander Jose Quintana did his best to ease the first challenge Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, battling Verlander to keep the game even through six innings.
The Sox couldn’t capitalize on the help in a 4-3 loss to the Tigers, their third in five games against the American League Central rivals. The Sox face Scherzer on Wednesday afternoon.
The Tigers broke a 3-3 tie game in the ninth inning after Austin Jackson reached third after his fly ball to right field bounced off the glove of Dayan Viciedo, who was charged with an error. With two outs, Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday hit a bunt that Sox reliever Ronald Belisario couldn’t throw to first in time, and Jackson scored for the go-ahead run.
The Sox broke through with four hits against Verlander in the third inning to take an early lead. Adam Eaton’s double, Gordon Beckham’s single and Adam Dunn’s double all drove in runs for a 3-0 Sox lead.
Quintana allowed two hits through the first three scoreless innings, striking out six. The Tigers cut the Sox lead to 3-1 in the fourth when Victor Martinez hit a single to left field to drive in Ian Kinsler. They strung together four straight singles with two outs in the sixth inning to score two runs off Quintana and tie the game at 3-3.
Quintana gave up eight hits, walked none and struck out 10 in six innings. Verlander lasted seven innings, allowing six hits, walking three and striking out four.
Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza had a one-out triple in the seventh, and Jose Abreu added a one-out double in the eighth, but the Sox couldn’t capitalize on either.
Scherzer will pitch Wednesday afternoon, when Sox right-handed reliever Hector Noesi will make a start in lieu of Erik Johnson, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte over the weekend. Ventura said he will hope for five innings from Noesi, who has made 21 major league starts in his career and was a starter when he played winter ball in the Dominican Republic in the offseason. The Sox bullpen will be counted on to pick up the slack from there.
Ventura said it is just a part of playing that the Sox have to face Verlander and Scherzer, who each earned a victory over the Sox on a road trip to Detroit last week.
“I don’t think anybody looks at it as a bad draw,” Ventura said. “You just know they’re on their team, and that might be the way it lines up for you, so you go ahead and go after it.”
The Sox won three of four games against the Rays to start their homestand. They have an off day Thursday before heading to Cleveland for a three-game series. Sox left-hander Chris Sale is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, but Ventura said the chances are slim that he will pitch then. Right-hander Scott Carroll would likely fill his place for the second straight game.