DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera showed once again he doesn’t have to hit it a mile to impact a game.
The slugger had a pair of well-placed singles to drive in three runs as the Detroit Tigers salvaged a series split with a 7-4 win over the White Sox in front of 28,514 at Comerica Park.
The two-time defending American League MVP gave the Tigers the early lead and then added on late without the ball leaving the yard, not even close in fact. White Sox relievers yielded four runs as the Tigers managed their second win of the four-game series. The White Sox, who host Tampa Bay for four games starting Friday, finished 3-4 on the road trip.
“That’s probably the least appealing situation you can have with these guys,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of facing Cabrera in the seventh. “You take your chances there. He’s pretty good.”
Whereas Cabrera’s two big hits in Tuesday’s Detroit victory traveled roughly 750 feet combined, Thursday’s pair might not have traveled 350. The eight-time All-Star gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the third inning when he snuck a two-out single through the right side against Jose Quintana on a 2-1 curveball.
“I want to throw something soft because the count is 2-1, but he (hit) the ball in the space between first and second,” Quintana said. “I think it was a good pitch in this moment, but he can hit.”
Quintana was mostly pleased with a 98-pitch effort in which he allowed three earned runs and seven hits over six innings. The left-hander didn’t walk any batters and became the first White Sox starting pitcher to not issue a free pass in a game this season. But one aspect Quintana would have liked to improve was that he allowed all three runs to score with two outs.
After Austin Jackson tripled with two outs in the second inning, Nick Castellanos singled him in. Cabrera’s single also came with two outs as did a solo home run by Rajai Davis in the fifth that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
“I feel really good,” Quintana said. “I know it’s a pretty good lineup … the only thing with me was two runs after two outs.”
Cabrera also got to reliever Daniel Webb with two outs in the seventh inning when he singled up the middle with the bases loaded to give Detroit a three-run cushion. Davis and Bryan Holaday drove in runs off Webb in the eighth to push the lead back to 7-4.
The White Sox had nearly as many opportunities against Max Scherzer and Co. but didn’t capitalize like their opponents. The Tigers were 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position while the White Sox finished 2-for-9.
Scherzer struck out 10 over six innings and limited the White Sox to two earned runs and seven hits.
Adam Dunn gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a homer to deep right-center, his fifth. But Scherzer didn’t allow another run until the sixth after Dayan Viciedo (3-for-4) reached on a sun-aided triple. A sac fly by Alexei Ramirez, who also had an RBI single in the eighth, cut Detroit’s lead to 3-2.
The White Sox scored twice in the eighth off Joba Chamberlain. Dunn doubled and Viciedo singled ahead of Ramirez’s single. A throwing error by Holaday allowed a second run to score to make it a 5-4 game.
But Chamberlain got Gordon Beckham to ground out and struck out Tyler Flowers, who had three hits, with the tying run on third.
“When you get opportunities early (against Scherzer) you’ve got to capitalize on them,” Dunn said. “If not, they don’t get any easier. That’s kind of what happened again today. … I thought we played pretty good on the road. We had chances offensively to break the game open or get a big hit and score some runs early, we just haven’t been able to do it.”