DETROIT — Two things went right for the White Sox on Friday night.
First, Avisail Garcia homered and tripled in his first game back after a five-day layoff. Also, despite poor forecasts and the presence of a persistent drizzle throughout, the White Sox and Detroit Tigers weren’t once delayed and completed all nine innings, thus avoiding the potential for a Saturday doubleheader.
The positives were severely limited beyond that in a 12-5 White Sox loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The White Sox committed two more errors as they lost for the eighth time in 10 games and 17th in their last 21.
Max Scherzer also got enough run support to earn his 20th victory.
But at the least Garcia made Scherzer pay for hanging a breaking ball with two outs in the fourth inning as his majestic two-run home run — his fifth this season — soared 417 feet to cut into a 7-1 Tigers lead.
Garcia also later tripled in a run.
“It feels great when you do that,” Garcia said. “I was like, ‘Ok, whatever happens in this game, it’s OK because I had like five days (off).’ I was trying to get relaxed and make contact. If it happened it happened. … I don’t want to say ‘I was trying to hit a homer. No.’ I was trying to make contact and get my timing again. It was good today.”
Conor Gillaspie also had a few good swings. The first produced a first-inning sacrifice fly and the other a triple in the eighth. Fellow rookie Marcus Semien also had a sacrifice fly.
But the Tigers’ bats and more shoddy defense from the White Sox led to a long night. Detroit reduced its magic number to three with the win.
The Tigers knocked around starter Dylan Axelrod, who pitched in place of rookie Andre Rienzo. Rienzo didn’t pitch because of a blister on his right hand.
Axelrod surrendered a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single by Andy Dirks.
Torri Hunter made it 3-1 with an RBI double in the second and the Tigers broke it open with four runs in the third inning. Alex Avila singled in a run, Hunter singled in two more and Miguel Cabrera singled in another.
Axelrod allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Then the defense stepped in.
Reliever Ramon Troncoso, allowed the first batter of the fifth inning to reach base, and everything snowballed. The error, the team’s 116th of 117 this season, and two-out hits against David Purcey added up to five runs and a 12-3 deficit.
All five runs were unearned. Through 153 games, the White Sox have allowed 77 unearned runs to score after they held opponents to 30 last season.
“It started out good for us with a run and after that they just swung the bats and that was it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
The White Sox added two runs in the eighth inning.
Gillaspie tripled, Semien had an RBI sac fly and Jeff Keppinger, who doubled, scored on Garcia’s triple to center.