After missing a game with an injured finger on his right hand, Nick Castellanos returned to the lineup — and realized his swing felt a bit better.
"I’ve been using a lot of top hand, kind of rolling over pitches I should stay through," Castellanos said. "Now, with my finger being hurt on my top hand, I have to use a lot more bottom hand. It helped me out tonight. I really didn’t try to do too much."
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Castellanos homered and drove in four runs, and the Detroit Tigers scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Castellanos’ three-run homer capped Detroit’s early outburst.
Max Scherzer (13-3) allowed a run and five hits in seven innings for the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak. He struck out six and walked one.
Detroit allowed seven runs in the seventh in an 11-4 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night, but this time the big inning belonged to the Tigers. Detroit had scored six runs over its previous four games before scoring that many in the first inning off Hector Noesi.
Noesi (5-8) allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings. Chicago slugger Jose Abreu singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. He has hit safely in 37 of his last 38 games.
Adam Dunn homered for the White Sox.
Noesi struck out Austin Jackson to start the game, but the next eight Detroit hitters reached base. Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez hit consecutive RBI singles, and Castellanos followed with an opposite-field homer to make it 6-0. Castellanos would add an RBI single in the seventh.
Scherzer is unbeaten in his last seven starts. He faced the minimum 15 hitters through the first five innings — the Tigers turned double plays after singles by Adam Eaton in the first and fourth. Dayan Viciedo ended Scherzer’s bid for a shutout with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and that ended up being the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner’s final inning.
Dunn hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth, his 17th of the year.
The game started after a 29-minute rain delay.
SCHERZER STRONG: Since allowing 10 runs in a loss to Kansas City on June 17, Scherzer is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in seven starts. He became the first AL pitcher to reach 13 wins this year.
"You have to ignore the scoreboard sometimes, and go out there and just pitch," Scherzer said. "The dumb philosophy is just — `I’ll give them heaters’ — you’re up 6-0, you don’t want to get beat. Fortunately, I’ve had the luxury of pitching in these situations because of this offense that we have. I’ve found that you need to throw your offspeed almost a little bit more, because their hitters are going up there gearing up for the fastball."
SALVAGING SOMETHING: The Tigers were aggressive against Noesi, so even with that poor first inning, his pitch count wasn’t all that high. He was able to help Chicago avoid a long outing from its bullpen.
"After the first, I was just pitching mad," Noesi said. "I knew I didn’t do my job and we were probably going to lose the game, so I was angry. I pitched a lot better after that inning, because I knew I couldn’t afford to let them get any more runs."
White Sox: Chicago announced before the game that reliever Nate Jones underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday. He’s expected to need a 12-to-15 month recovery period.
Tigers: Shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who left Tuesday’s game with a back issue, said he was in pain when he would bend down to take groundballs. He was given the night off.
White Sox: Left-hander John Danks (9-6) is scheduled to take the mound in the series finale against Detroit on Thursday. Danks held the Tigers to one run in 6 1-3 innings on April 21.
Tigers: Drew Smyly (6-9) will try to build on an impressive outing against the Los Angeles Angels in his last start. The left-hander struck out 11 in a 2-1 loss.