Castellanos' first-inning homer powers Tigers
The Sports Xchange
By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
Tigers DETROIT -- Nick Castellanos had a sore finger, but it was hard to detect by the way he swung the bat on Wednesday night.
Castellanos, Detroit's rookie third baseman, hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high four runs as the Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.
Castellanos missed Tuesday's game with a right index finger contusion after getting struck with a bad hop during infield practice. The finger was still bothering him when he drove the first pitch he saw into the right-field stands during Detroit's six-run first inning. He added an RBI single in the seventh.
"I definitely knew that I was not feeling as strong as I am when both of my hands are fine, but it worked out for the best because I didn't try to do too much," he said. "It's not 100 percent, but it was good enough where I could play today."
Max Scherzer (13-3) took advantage of the early run support and posted his American League-leading 13th victory. Scherzer, who won a major-league best 21 games and captured the AL Cy Young award last season, allowed only five singles in seven innings while walking one and striking out six. He has five wins and two no-decisions in his last seven starts.
Scherzer didn't alter his approach despite the comfortable lead.
"The dumb philosophy is I'll give them heaters. You're up 6-0, you don't want to get beat (with off-speed pitches)," he said. "Fortunately, I've had the luxury of pitching in these situations because of this offense we have and I've found that you almost need to throw your off-speed a little more. Their hitters are going up there gearing up for the fastball. They're trying to get back in the game by driving fastballs."
Right fielder Torii Hunter had three hits, scored twice and drove in another run for the Tigers (58-46). The game was delayed 29 minutes by rain.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu had a seventh-inning single to stretch his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest in the AL this year. Losing pitcher Hector Noesi (5-8) hung around for six innings despite his disastrous start, allowing 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
"They just got after him in the first inning," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose club fell to 52-56. "He got the first out and then he started getting up in the zone and they were hitting it where we weren't. The big one was Castellanos. After that, he settled in, but that first inning was just a killer."
Right fielder Dayan Viciedo's seventh-inning sacrifice fly and designated hitter Adam Dunn's ninth-inning homer accounted for Chicago's runs. Scherzer allowed only three baserunners until the seventh.
"You've got to be able to get him in the zone," Ventura said. "You get guys on, you've got to be able to take advantage of it, but he finds a way out of that stuff. That's what makes him so tough."
Second baseman Ian Kinsler's one-out single started the first-inning outburst. After first baseman Miguel Cabrera walked, designated hitter Victor Martinez, Hunter and left fielder J.D. Martinez smacked consecutive RBI singles. Castellanos then attacked Noesi's first offering and drove it just over the wall for his seventh home run of the season to make it 6-0.
"We know that Noesi throws hard and throws a lot of fastballs, so the game plan was to be aggressive on fastballs around the plate because he's going to give them to you," Castellanos said. "So it was not so much swinging at first pitches but swinging at good first pitches."
NOTES: White Sox RHP Nate Jones underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday and will be out 12-15 months, the club announced Wednesday. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews. Jones appeared in just two games in early April before going on the disabled list with a lower back injury. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow during his throwing program. ... Tigers rookie SS Eugenio Suarez was not in the lineup because of lower back tightness. Suarez was injured while fielding a ground ball Tuesday and left that game during the fourth inning. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura is not sweating out Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. "I'm probably going to see the same guys that are here right now," he said. "I'm not anticipating anything." ... 1B Jose Abreu is the first White Sox player since Eddie Collins in 1920 to have to two hitting streaks of at least 18 games in a season. ... Detroit has allowed 10 or more runs eight times this season, including the 11-4 loss to Chicago on Tuesday.