DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers took the rubber match against the Chicago White Sox, 9-2, Sunday behind a monster game from Yoenis Cespedes and another excellent start from Shane Greene. Detroit improves to an MLB-best 10-2 on the year after its fourth straight series win to start the season.
Detroit jumped out to an early lead after being blown out 12-3 in the second game of the series. Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez ripped singles off of starter Jose Quintana, and J.D. Martinez worked a full-count walk to load the bases.
Then, on the 40th pitch of the first inning for Quintana, Cespedes hit his first career grand slam on a laser to left center field, giving the Tigers an early 4-0 lead.
Detroit scored again in the 2nd as James McCann led off with his first career triple and Rajai Davis brought him home with a single up the middle.
In the bottom of the third, Cespedes struck again, taking a Quintana offering over the bullpens in left field for his second home run of the game. Victor Martinez scored on the play, giving Cespedes a career high six-RBI game through just three innings.
Greene allowed one runner to reach base in each of the first five innings, but they never got past first base. He erased three of the runners on double plays and stranded the other two en route to an efficient, 65-pitch start.
Quintana was finally knocked out of the game in the bottom of the 5th after back-to-back doubles from Cabrera and Victor Martinez led off the inning. Martinez's ground-rule double was his first extra-base hit of the season and third hit of the afternoon.
Nick Castellanos ripped a double off of reliever Matt Albers to close the book on Quintana, who allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits in four innings. The Tigers returned the favor after the White Sox dropped nine runs on Anibal Sanchez Saturday.
Greene finally allowed his first earned run of the season in the top of the 6th, as a two-out RBI triple from Jose Abreu scored Melky Cabrera. Greene's streak reached 21 scoreless innings to start the season before the run.
The Tigers turned their fourth double play of the afternoon after a leadoff walk by Greene in the top of the 7th inning. Greene finished the game with just one run allowed on five hits and four walks in seven innings. He earned his third win in three starts for the Tigers this year.
The first 1-2-3 inning for either team came in the bottom of the 7th, as the Tigers hit two long fly balls for outs before Kyle Drabek struck out Cespedes.
Ian Krol came in for the Tigers in the 8th and retired the White Sox in order.
Angel Nesbitt took the 9th inning and pitched around a leadoff double to finish the series and slam the door on Chicago.
Cespedes ended the game 2-4 after hitting two early blasts. Victor Martinez went 3-3 and scored three runs before being replaced when the lead grew to eight.
The Tigers will now welcome the New York Yankees to Comerica Park for a four-game series as the 10-game home stand continues. Alfredo Simon will battle C.C. Sabathia in the opening game Monday.