CHICAGO — The White Sox's playoff dream is dead.
The Tigers officially ended their ill-fated run, completing the three-game sweep at Guaranteed Rate Field with a 4-1 win Sunday. It was the sixth straight home loss for the White Sox and the first Tigers series sweep in Chicago since 2018.
They broke open a 1-1 game scoring three times in the top of the eighth inning against reliever Kendall Graveman.
Jonathan Schoop, who had hit into a bases-loaded double play earlier in the game, and Jeimer Candelario both singled home runs. A third run crossed after a wild pitch.
The game might have looked very different in that eighth inning were it not for two spectacular defensive plays by rookie center fielder Riley Greene.
In the second inning, he raced more than 100 feet into the gap in left-center field to track and catch a 384-foot liner by Adam Engel. The ball left the bat 101 mph and had an expected batting average of .650, according to Statcast.
That was impressive. The catch he made in the fourth was better. And at the time more impactful.
Yoan Moncada led off the inning ambushing a first-pitch cutter from Tigers starter Tyler Alexander and hit it 410 feet over the wall in left-center. It was the first of the game and the first run Alexander had allowed in 11 innings.
After AJ Pollock singled, Andrew Vaughn ambushed another first-pitch cutter and hit it 405 feet. That ball, too, was heading over the left-center field wall.
Greene, though, tracked it 107 feet, timed his leap perfectly, reached above the wall and brought it back.
Alexander ended up allowing just the Moncada homer through six innings, his second straight strong outing.
But facing their nemesis, White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease, among the favorites to win the American League Cy Young award this year, that skinny deficit seemed deep.
Cease is 10-1 in his career against Detroit with a sub-2.00 ERA. But this one wasn’t as breezy as most of his other outings have been. He had to extricate himself from bases-loaded jams in the fifth and sixth innings.
Schoop doubled and Candelario walked. They were sacrificed up a base by Ryan Kreidler’s deft bunt in the fifth. After Cease struck out Victor Reyes, Greene worked an eight-pitch walk to bring Javier Báez to the plate with the bases loaded.
Báez fouled out to catcher Seby Zavala on the first pitch.
The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on singles by Harold Castro (three hits for the second straight game) and Eric Haase, and a walk to Kerry Carpenter. Again Cease shut the door.
Schoop bounced into a fast 5-2-3 double play and Candelario flew out to center.
The Tigers finally put a run on the board in the seventh against reliever Reynaldo Lopez. Kreidler singled and scored on a double by Reyes. Reyes, though, inexplicably with no outs, got himself caught in a rundown between second and third and was tagged out.