DETROIT -- Jake Peavy was given an early lead on Friday night but couldnt manage it.Handed the same later, Justin Verlander didnt relinquish his.The Detroit Tigers rallied from an early deficit and their ace took advantage of two Peavy mistakes in a 4-2 victory in front of 44,572 at Comerica Park.The White Sox lost their third straight contest and now lead the Tigers by a half-game in the American League Central. Chris Sale faces Rick Porcello at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday.Peavy (7-7) nearly pitched his way out of trouble in the bottom of the third inning.Leading 2-0, the All-Star yielded a double and a single to start the inning before Austin Jackson grounded into a double play. But a 1-0 pitch to Quintin Berry got away and struck him to put runners on the corners for the heart of Detroits lineup.Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young made Peavy pay a heavy price with a pair of RBI singles and an RBI double to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.Peavy only made one more critical mistake in a 122-pitch effort as his seventh-inning balk allowed Jhonny Peralta to move into scoring position. Jackson later singled him in as Detroit went ahead 4-2.The support was plenty for Verlander, who improved as he worked his way into the game. The White Sox struck the All-Star Game starter early as Alejandro De Aza -- who also walked and singled -- crushed a 3-2 offering from Verlander (11-5) for a two-run homer in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.From there, however, Verlander set down 16 of the last 18 batters he faced. Verlander started the eighth inning as he blew a 98-mph fastball past Alexei Ramirez for a called third strike. He also struck out Kevin Youkilis, who returned to the lineup after he sat out Thursdays game with a tight left hamstring, three times.Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory for Verlander, who made 122 pitches.Peavy was outstanding to start.He struck out the side in the first inning and whiffed the first five batters he faced. Following his 31-pitch third inning, Peavy got back on track. He set down 11 in a row until Peraltas one-out single in the seventh inning.Donnie Veal struck out the only two batters he faced in his White Sox debut.
The White Sox called up Carson Fulmer from Double-A Birmingham a week ago with the expectation he could add a strong, powerful arm to the back end of a bullpen that’s been taxed quite a bit this season.
After he struggled in his first high-leverage appearance in the majors, though, the White Sox remain confident their 2015 first-round pick will be an important part of the team’s bullpen down the stretch this summer.
Fulmer only threw 12 of 30 pitches for strikes and allowed three game-deciding runs in seventh inning of the White Sox 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers in front of 22,611 at U.S. Cellular Field Friday night. The leverage indexes of Fulmer’s first two appearances on the West Coast — which spanned 2 2/3 scoreless innings — were .01 and .05 (a leverage index of 1 is average), with those coming in a 8-1 loss and a 6-1 win. On Friday, Fulmer’s leverage index was 2.98.
Fulmer said nerves weren’t behind his erratic outing, in which plenty of those 18 balls weren’t close to the strike zone.
“I want to be in those situations,” the 22-year-old Fulmer said. “When you go out there and don’t do your job, it’s obviously frustrating. But you have to have a quick memory and throw it over your shoulder and prepare yourself for tomorrow.”
Fulmer’s electric mid-90’s fastball and wipeout curveball were rendered ineffective by his inability to command them in his two-thirds of an inning. He walked Justin Upton, gave up a single to Tyler Collins and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to load the bases with nobody out, and after a pair of groundouts brought a run in, he walked Cameron Maybin to re-load the bases.
After that walk, Fulmer was pulled in favor of Nate Jones, who surrendered a go-ahead, ultimately game-winning two-run single to Tigers All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
At some point, the White Sox were going to have to test Fulmer. With starter Jacob Turner only lasting 3 1/3 innings, and Fulmer looking comfortable in his first two appearances in the majors, manager Robin Ventura calculated that the seventh inning Friday was a prime opportunity.
“He’s going to have to have it sooner or later,” Ventura said. “From the way the first (two) went, we felt comfortable he was going to come in there and be able to do that. But tonight, that doesn’t happen. But you have the confidence he can come back from this and be very effective in that spot.”
Morneau, who’s provided offense for bullpens over 14 major league seasons, agreed with his manager’s confidence in Fulmer.
“We see a lot of good things in him,” Morneau said. “It’s obviously not up to me, but hopefully we get him back out there quick and let him settle back down and get comfortable, because he can really help this team.”
White Sox relievers entered Friday with the fifth-highest leverage index in baseball, a product of the high volume of one-, two- and three-run games this team has found itself in this season. All those stressful innings — as well as Jake Petricka’s season-ending injury and Zach Putnam’s elbow issue from which he isn’t likely to return anytime soon — have put a considerable strain on Jones, Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and David Robertson.
Fulmer, by virtue of being in the White Sox bullpen, will get another opportunity at a high-leverage inning. And while his first foray into a pressure-packed relief appearance didn’t go well, he hopes to quickly get a chance to put Friday in the rearview mirror.
“I can’t ever use the excuse of it being my first big-time experience, especially for me being put in that situation,” Fulmer said. “Hopefully I get the opportunity to do it again. I’ll continue to stay prepared, just like I was tonight, and hopefully the odds turn in my favor. That’s all I can control.”
Chris Sale takes the mound as the White Sox continue their four-game series against the Detroit Tigers tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.
Starting pitching matchup: Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.91 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18 ERA)
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White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday he’s been fielding more calls about trades as he team has slid to six losses in seven games after the All-Star break.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, one of those calls has been from a Texas Rangers front office that’s pushing hard to acquire All-Star left-hander Chris Sale.
Rangers making serious effort for White Sox LHP Chris Sale but no indication if deal will get done....predictably Sox want Gallo, Profar— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) July 22, 2016
Sullivan reports the White Sox want power-hitting 22-year-old prospect Joey Gallo as well as former top prospect infielder Jurickson Profar.
The 23-year-old Profar is hitting .304/.351/.435 in 42 games with the Rangers this season. Profar missed the entire 2014 season due to a muscle strain in his right shoulder, and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in the same shoulder prior to the 2015 season, in which he only appeared in 32 games in the Rangers’ minor league system.
Gallo, who homered in his first career at-bat off then-White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija in June of 2015, has 17 home runs with a .254/.394/.561 slash line and 85 strikeouts in 228 plate appearances for Triple-A Round Rock this season.
While Hahn said Thursday it “might be extreme” for the White Sox to undergo a full rebuild with Sale and Jose Quintana under control on team-friendly deals through 2019 and 2020, respectively, he did say the organization is considering all of its options as it languishes in both the American League wild card and Central Division races.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday that the White Sox were offered a "king's ransom" for Sale and turned that team down.