The Detroit Tigers traded promising outfield prospect Avisail Garcia to the White Sox on July 30. Two months later, the 22-year-old is still making his presence felt at Comerica Park.
Garcia and Jeff Keppinger each went 3-for-5 as the visiting Chicago White Sox spoiled Detroit’s chance to clinch the American League Central division at home, beating the Tigers 6-3 in Detroit’s final home game of the regular season.
Garcia opened up the scoring for Chicago in the top of the first inning with an RBI single to center field to score Conor Gillaspie.
Detroit responded in the fourth when Prince Fielder took the first pitch from White Sox starter Erik Johnson over the right field fence to tie the game at 1-1.
After Marcus Semien singled and Alejandro de Aza walked to start the fifth inning, Gillaspie drove in both with a triple to deep-center. Garcia, the very next batter, then singled to score Gillaspie, giving the White Sox a 4-1 lead.
Chicago added two more in the seventh when Keppinger’s double drove in Gillaspie and Garcia to put the White Sox ahead 6-1.
Detroit responded in the bottom of the inning with one run on an Austin Jackson sacrifice fly to score Alex Avila. The day after an incredible six-run comeback in the ninth inning on Saturday, Detroit was able to manage just one run in the ninth on Sunday. After Ramon Santiago drove in Brayan Peña on a fielder’s choice, Nick Castellanos grounded out and Austin Jackson struck out to end the game.
“Everybody wanted to clinch at home,” Peña said. “But it doesn’t matter how we do it. We just want to do it, because if we do it, everybody knows that we’re coming back here.”
Johnson (2-2) earned the win for Chicago, surrendering nine hits and two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old rookie had one strikeout, and did not walk any batters.
“He did a good job going against a tough lineup,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. “He stayed out of trouble. That’s great composure for a kid as old as he is.”
Donnie Veal earned a hold in 1 1/3 innings of work in relief of Johnson, and Matt Lindstrom closed out the Tigers with a scoreless ninth inning.
Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez (14-8) was the losing pitcher, giving up eight hits and four earned runs in only five innings. Evan Reed and Darin Downs each saw extended work, with Reed surrendering three hits and two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings and Downs pitching a perfect 1 1/3 inning to end the game.
The Tigers will begin a three-game series at Minnesota on Monday, and conclude the regular season with a three-game series at Miami, starting on Friday. Detroit now has a five game lead on second-place Cleveland in the American League Central with six games to play.