Yoenis Cespedes leads Tigers' rout of White Sox with slam, 2-run HR
Yoenis Cespedes has added a bit more power to Detroit's lineup, and the guy who hits after him has taken notice.
"Kind of a tough act to follow," Nick Castellanos said. "You touch him, he's all muscle. It's ridiculous how strong that guy is."
Cespedes hit a grand slam and a two-run homer and Shane Greene pitched seven impressive innings in another fine start to begin the season, helping the Tigers rout the Chicago White Sox 9-1 on Sunday.
It was the first major league grand slam for Cespedes, and both his home runs came off Jose Quintana. Cespedes is now 6 for 8 with four home runs against Quintana (1-1) for his career.
"Any ballplayer that hits two home runs is feeling good," Cespedes said through a translator. "I couldn't be luckier to be on such a great team with such a good group of ballplayers."
Greene (3-0) allowed his first earned run of the season Sunday when an RBI triple by Jose Abreu skipped past J.D. Martinez in right field in the sixth. Greene gave up five hits and four walks, but the White Sox hit into four double plays.
Greene, who was traded in the offseason from the New York Yankees to Detroit, struck out three.
Cespedes came up with two out and the bases loaded in the first. As a wind-whipped rain began to fall, the Detroit slugger sent a drive over the fence in left to make it 4-0.
The weather cleared up nicely after that, but Quintana's problems were only beginning. James McCann led off the bottom of the second with a triple and scored on a single by Rajai Davis.
"It's a bad day, I forget that and keep working hard every time," Quintana said. "I have confidence in me every time we go out there. The next start, make the adjustment and do better."
Cespedes hit his second homer of the game in the third to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. It was the third homer of the season and 74th career shot for Cespedes, who has won the All-Star Home Run Derby the last two years.
Victor Martinez added an RBI double in the fifth to chase Quintana, and Castellanos hit a run-scoring double of his own later that inning.
The Tigers (10-2) are off to the best start of any team in baseball, and the defending AL Central champions rebounded from a 12-3 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. Detroit leads the division by one game over Kansas City, which has the American League's second-best record.
Victor Martinez had three hits and three runs for the Tigers before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Greene has been a strong addition so far in a starting rotation that lost Max Scherzer to free agency and Rick Porcello via a trade. He allowed an unearned run in his first start against Minnesota, then went eight scoreless innings at Pittsburgh.
The walks could have been a problem against the White Sox, but Chicago never put together a big rally.
"I was doing my best to throw strikes. When I wasn't throwing strikes and I was putting guys on base, the defense was turning two," Greene said. "They make it a lot easier when they're doing that."
Chicago's pitchers came into the game with a 1.79 ERA in their previous 50-1/3 innings, but Quintana was in trouble pretty much throughout. He allowed nine runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings.
"It seemed like he was getting ahead 0-2 or 1-2 on almost every hitter, but then he would start nibbling instead of going after them," manager Robin Ventura said. "He kept ending up 3-2 and then he'd come in with a pitch that would catch too much of the plate. Q's going to be better than this -- I'm not worried about him."
White Sox: RHP Jake Petricka (right forearm) is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. He pitched a scoreless inning Saturday night against Gwinnett.
Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus said reliever Joe Nathan (right elbow) will need to pitch on a rehab assignment or in a simulated game before returning for the Tigers. He is eligible to come back Wednesday from the DL.