Detroit's lineup yields little for Galarraga
Loss drops Tigers to eight games back of White Sox
DETROIT -- Edwin Jackson tossed the kind of game he so often did as a member of the Tigers. He threw strikes, gave up a lot of hits, yet was able to wiggle his way out of game-changing jams.
The same stayed true in the White Sox 4-1 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday. He earned the win, but he didn't make it look easy.
Jackson, in his first start with the White Sox since being acquired from the D-backs, found himself in sticky situations early in the game, but he was able to squeak by with timely pitches in big situations. He tossed seven-plus innings and only gave up one run in his White Sox debut, despite allowing seven hits to the Tigers through the first four innings. It marked Jackson's second win of the season against his former club.
"I put that right up there with the best performances against us this year," Johnny Damon said. "Tonight, it was Edwin Jackson. He was that good tonight. You hate to pat the opponent on the back or give them kudos, but he was pretty good."
Like he often displayed in Detroit, Jackson started the game shaky. In each of the first four innings, the Tigers had at least two men on base, but were unable to come up with the big hit to bring anyone home. Jackson (7-10) heated up as the game progressed and was able to keep Detroit's bats at bay, striking out five in the process.
"Those guys did a great job of making me battle today," Jackson said. "It definitely wasn't easy. It was just a matter of getting out of big innings and damage control. It was just attacking the strike zone. Taking chances and making them put the ball in play. A combination of that and just making pitches. The odds are in your favor as a pitcher. A hitter, they get a hit three out of 10 times, and they're successful. It's a game of just playing the odds and letting the defense work behind me."
Jackson was good, sure, but the Tigers' bats were unable to come up with a clutch hit to get on the board. Triple Crown threat Miguel Cabrera came to the plate in the first and third innings with two men on base, yet came up empty-handed both times when swinging at sliders. The Tigers went on to leave 11 runners on base, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"He threw a lot of fastballs," Cabrera said. "He made a lot of good pitches with his slider. He worked well with his slider and made outs."
Third baseman Brandon Inge was responsible for the run that broke up Jackson's shutout. In his first game back from the disabled list with a broken right hand, he hit a bloop RBI single to right to cap off a 3-for-4 night.
But that was all the offense the Tigers could muster in another frustrating loss that puts the club back under .500 and eight games behind the American League Central-leading White Sox.
"We had opportunities and we didn't cash in on them," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's what you have to do against good pitchers. When you have them on the hook a little bit, you have to get a big hit."
Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was hoping for some of the run support Jeremy Bonderman received in the nightcap on Tuesday, when Detroit defeated the White Sox, 7-1. But the offense just didn't show up for Galarraga (3-4), who has started six games at Comerica Park since his near-perfecto and has yet to earn a win.
Galarraga was out of sync and allowed four runs on eight hits and walked five through 7 2/3 innings. Three of the runs came off homers. The first was a two-run shot to Carlos Quentin in the fourth inning, and the second was a solo blast to Paul Konerko in the sixth.
Galarraga said he didn't have good command of his slider and paid for it via the home runs. As the game progressed, however, the right-hander calmed down and forced the White Sox to hit into two huge double plays. But the home runs on mistake pitches were his downfall.
"My performance, I don't think was good," Galarraga said. "I realize it's not good. I didn't have good command. I know I had a couple walks and I get tired of the home runs. I always give up a home run. Every start, they always get a home run."
Leyland was pleased that Galarraga kept the Tigers in the game and chewed up innings, but he still wants to see him be more aggressive and trust his pitches.
"I think Galarraga is a perfect example of a guy that his stuff is better than he trusts at times," Leyland said. "And I think when he learns to trust his stuff a little bit more, he'll be even better. He pitched well tonight. He gave us an opportunity to win the game. And I think with him, the more he starts to believe in his stuff, the better he'll be. If he doesn't, he's going to have problems, because he pitched a couple guys tentative and it killed him."
The White Sox have now won 20 of their last 28 games, leading Damon to say they are "playing the best baseball in both leagues." To Inge, for the Tigers to come back and earn the vital series split, they need to relax and stop focusing on the standings.
"I've been on teams that have won a lot of games and on teams that haven't," Inge said. "The teams that haven't, press. They try and do too much at every at-bat instead of just going up there and doing your best and coming back in and joking around a little bit. The next guy goes out there and you pick him up. That's what wins ballgames. It's laid back a little bit. You have to stop looking at the standings and go out there and have fun."
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.