Tigers find new way to win as White Sox don’t challenge close play
DETROIT — The Tigers are finding all kinds of ways to win — good pitching, good hitting and good defense.
On Friday, they might have gotten a win because the Chicago White Sox didn’t challenge a late play.
However it went or should have gone, the Tigers will take the 2-1 victory and their 9-1 start.
David Price and Jeff Samardzija matched each other inning for inning, nearly pitch for pitch, through eight innings, each allowing a solo home run.
"That’s why we got David Price, that’s why they got Jeff Samardzija, to pitch games like that," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Former Tiger Avisail Garcia took Price’s first pitch of the second inning over the right-field wall and Yoenis Cespedes hit a 2-1 slider over the left-field wall.
"When you’re facing their ace, you know you’ve got to be ready," Samardzija said. "The home run to Cespedes was basically the game. Wish I could have another chance with that pitch."
As it was, neither starter factored in the decision.
Nick Castellanos, who robbed Jose Abreu of a hit to start the ninth, led off the bottom of the ninth with a hit of his own.
Castellanos, who is not blessed with Anthony Gose or Rajai Davis speed, hit the ball to right and then decided to try for second base.
"In our meeting before the game, they said Garcia was a guy we wanted to take the extra base on, because in the past he’s shown that he’s not a very accurate thrower," Castellanos said. "So I did exactly what the scouting report said: If you have the option to take an extra base on him, take it."
The play was extremely close at second but umpire Brian O’Nora ruled that shortstop Alexei Ramirez missed the tag.
Replays seemed to indicate otherwise but White Sox manager Robin Ventura did not challenge the call.
"He said we missed him," Ventura said. "I wish I could actually watch it. You have to go with what your guys are going with. You could just go out and challenge it anyway. When you get, ‘he missed him,’ you don’t challenge it."
Speaking through an interpreter, Ramirez said he believes he tagged Castellanos out.
"I’m 100 percent sure that I tagged him," Ramirez said. "I thought he (ump) was in the wrong position to see it. I felt it. I tagged him."
Castellanos disputed that.
"A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they’ll take it for granted, and call you out," Castellanos said. "The ball beat me there, but again, like I said, I didn’t feel a tag. So when he called me safe, I was really thrilled that he stuck with the play."
Once the White Sox opted not to challenge, the Tigers sent Andrew Romine out to pinch run.
After Alex Avila sacrificed Romine to third, it was up to Jose Iglesias.
On an 0-2 count, Iglesias hit a single to right to score Romine for the game-winning run.
"When you get into those situations, you don’t try to do too much," said Iglesias, who tossed his helmet 25 feet in the air. "You just gotta see the ball, make sure you can make contact and see what happens. You face big league pitchers, it’s tough, but when you have an approach and stick with it, good things happen."
The Tigers have tied the 1984, 1968 and 1911 teams with the best start in history at 9-1.
"Anytime we can go 9-1 in a stretch is significant," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We’ve played some good baseball and we want to keep that going."
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