DETROIT – For a team looking to show that they’re still the one to beat in the American League Central division, the White Sox seemed to have their goal in sight in their first contest of 2022.
In just an inning-and-a-half on Opening Day in Detroit, they had a three-run lead with their starter enjoying a solid afternoon. But then Lucas Giolito had to exit the lineup with an injury against the Tigers, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead twice, as the division upstarts tried to show they’ll have something to offer in 2022.
Indeed they did, rallying from two runs down in the eighth then one in the ninth to beat the White Sox 5-4 on Opening Day at Comerica Park.
Javier Baez’s single off the wall in right off closer Liam Hendriks and over the head of outfielder AJ Pollock brought in the winning run after Eric Haase had tied it earlier in the inning with a solo homer. This came after the Tigers to two runs off Hendriks in the eighth inning as Miguel Cabrera drove in a pair of runs on a single with two out.
Andrew Vaughn gave the White Sox the lead back in the ninth with a one-out solo home run to left off Gregory Soto, but Detroit had the answer in the bottom of the ninth. The White Sox have now lost four-straight season openers, with their last win coming back in 2018 against the Royals in Kansas City.
This didn’t look like the way things were going to go for the majority of the game as the White Sox got off to a quick start. Eloy Jimenez’s RBI single in the first inning gave the White Sox their first run of the season, then they got two more in the next frame.
Pollock’s RBI single then a run-scoring double by Luis Robert in the second gave the team a 3-0 lead, which Giolito seemed capable of protecting. He allowed just one hit in four shutout innings to start with six strikeouts compared to two walks, but abdominal tightness on his left side brought an early end to his day.
Detroit chipped away at the lead against the bullpen, getting on the board in the sixth inning with an RBI single from Jeimer Candelario off Kendall Graveman, who inherited the runners from Kyle Crick. Aaron Bummer entered in the eighth, starting the inning with a strikeout, then loading the bases before getting another one.
Bummer was then lifted for Hendricks, who served up a first pitch, two-RBI single to Cabrera to tie the game at three.
It looked like Vaughn was about to save the day in the top of the ninth when he lined a shot into the seats down the left field line for the 16th homer in his young career. But the Tigers against got the Hendriks, who allowed the one-out solo homer to Haase to tie it at four.
Austin Meadows, who was just acquired by the Tigers on April 4th, then got a two-out triple to right field to keep the inning alive. The next hitter was Baez, who sent a ball deep to right field toward Pollock, who was initially ruled to have made the catch.
But replay clearly showed the ball had contacted the wall before hitting the otufielder’s glove, sending the White Sox to a defeat they hadn’t seen coming for most of Opening Day.