DETROIT — The Tigers’ offense didn’t wake up for long Wednesday night, but it did plenty of damage before hitting the snooze button again in a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
After a feeble weekend performance in Anaheim and a 11-4 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night at Comerica Park, things didn’t get much better when Austin Jackson struck out on eight pitches to start the game against Chicago.
At that point, however, the offense started to stir.
Ian Kinsler started the rally with a single on an 0-2 pitch. And Miguel Cabrera followed that up with a walk on five pitches. Victor Martinez then got the team fully awake with an RBI single on a 2-0 pitch.
Torii Hunter smacked the next pitch for a run-scoring single, and J.D. Martinez made it three runs in three pitches with a base hit of his own.
Hector Noesi’s next delivery? Nick Castellanos slammed it into the right-field stands for a three-run homer and a 6-0 Tigers lead — all in a span of 12 pitches.
That was when the Tigers started to doze off again. Alex Avila walked and Andrew Romine singled, but Noesi got out of the inning and then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second.
That was pretty much it for the Tigers.
Remarkably, after being one pitch away from coming out of the game in each of the first two innings, Noesi ended up pitching through six and never allowed another run.
"He really saved their bullpen," Brad Ausmus said Thursday morning, a sentiment shared by White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "If we could have gotten something more out of those first two innings, we could have really gotten deep into their relief pitchers. Instead, they are pretty well rested for today."
Luckily for the Tigers, with Max Scherzer on the mound, the six-run burst was more than enough to snap their four-game losing streak.
The question will come Thursday afternoon (1:08 first pitch on FOX Sports Detroit), when they will need to be productive for more than 12 pitches against John Danks.
Ausmus said that there are a lot of differences between being a player on trade-deadline day and being a manager.
"For one thing, the chances of getting traded is a lot smaller as a manager than as a player," he joked. "On the other hand, I’m in the middle of all the discussions about trades we might make, where you don’t generally discuss moves with players unless they have first-hand knowledge of the guy you are trying to acquire."
Ausmus wouldn’t tip the team’s thinking about the last few hours before the deadline. Even when asked about the morning’s blockbuster — Jon Lester and Johnny Gomes to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes — he simply smiled and said that he wasn’t surprised, given the buzz about a possible Lester trade.