We don’t like to talk about it, but in a lot of these baseball games, not much happens. Other times, a kerfuffle in a half gets tucked into a Thursday getaway day.
On a day where Chris Sale couldn’t hit the mid-90’s and needed defensive miracles and 113 pitches to get through 6.2 innings with three runs allowed for a quality start, his offensive calvary finally showed up after over a month of neglect. Josh Phegley skied a hanging 3-2 curveball into the left field bullpen for a go-ahead sixth inning grand slam. A rested Sox bullpen and an insurance home run from Alejandro De Aza would lock down a 6-3 victory to clinch a series win in their first trip to Detroit.
Phegley hits dingers. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Sanchez, in his second start back from the disabled list, was stretched beyond his limits trying to get through six frames. Austin Jackson put him in a hole by dropping a soft Jeff Keppinger liner to start the inning, Sanchez did himself in by blowing a 1-2 count and walking Conor Gillaspie, and after a useless Dayan Viciedo at-bat, Gordon Beckham stayed hot with a flipped looper to right to load the bases. Even to Phegley, Sanchez wasted a 1-2 count and got too cute for the make-or-break delivery.
But, oh, that wasn’t the half of it. Sanchez was pulled for Luke Putkonen, who after retiring De Aza in short order, sought to get revenge against Alexei Ramirez. After a Miguel Cabrera home run the previous inning, Sale followed with his traditional angrily overthrown fastball. Only this fastball buzzed by Prince Fielder‘s head. The at-bat finished without incident, but at the very least Putkonen took note and returned the favor by throwing behind Ramirez.
An uncommonly incensed Alexei started toward the mound, causing the benches to clear. Leyland and Putkonen were tossed. Leyland came out for more after retreating to the clubhouse for a bit, perhaps to confirm that he was, in fact, ejected. Alexei was allowed to remain but was pulled after reaching via single, favoring his hamstring as he rounded first.
Addison Reed’s first save opportunity since July 2nd was a smooth one, and he locked it down for a series a victory against the Tigers. Who knew?
Team Record: 36-53