The Sox did, in fact, take two out of three games from the Detroit Tigers, although the order in which they won this series was a little different than I anticipated. Let's look back on the weekend that was:
White Sox 3, Tigers 2: This was the one game in the series where I felt the Tigers had the edge with their ace, Justin Verlander, going against Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.
Perhaps I should have known better, because Gonzalez has had a strong second half. He's racked up seven quality starts in his past eight outings and lowered his season ERA from 5.15 to 4.30 in the process. And he more than matched Verlander in this game:
Gonzalez: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 9 Ks, 0 BBs
Verlander: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8Ks, 2 BBs
This one ended up being decided by bullpens, and while neither club has a good one, it was Detroit's relief corps that broke first.
With the score tied at 2, Tim Anderson led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a double off Joe Jimenez (0-2). Yolmer Sanchez followed a game-ending RBI single.
That made a winner of Sox reliever Juan Minaya (2-1), who worked 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
Tigers 6, White Sox 3: I thought this would be the most favorable matchup for the Sox this weekend, so, of course, they lost.
Carlos Rodon (2-5) had allowed two runs or less and worked six innings or more in five straight starts coming into Saturday, but his hot streak ended against the Tigers.
The left-hander lasted only five innings and gave up five runs. Sanchez staked him to an early 2-0 lead with a home run, but Rodon handed it right back by giving up back-to-back home runs to Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera in the top of the third inning. Cabrera's homer gave Detroit a 3-2 lead, and the Tigers led the rest of the way.
Detroit starter Buck Farmer (3-1) has a 6.17 ERA this season, but two of his three wins have come against the Sox. Farmer was nothing special in this game, allowing three earned runs over 5.2 innings, but he was better than Rodon. That was disappointing.
White Sox 7, Tigers 1: Not so disappointing was the performance of rookie right-hander Lucas Giolito (1-1), who fired seven shutout innings to pick up his first major-league victory in the rubber match of the series.
Unlike his first start, Giolito had his four-pitch mix working. He was consistently ahead in counts and allowed only two hits through his first six innings. He struck out four and threw 72 of his 104 pitches for strikes.
His seventh and final inning was a tough one, but he managed to get out of a two-out jam that saw the Tigers load the bases. Jose Iglesias hit a ball down the left-field line that was initially ruled a grand slam. Replays showed the ball was clearly foul, and the call was reversed. After the loud strike one, Giolito induced Iglesias to ground out to shortstop, and that completed his seven-inning day.
The Sox have had a lot of success against Detroit lefty Matt Boyd (He's 0-4 vs. Chicago in his career), and they scored five runs off him in the bottom of the third inning Sunday. Matt Davidson's two-out, two-strike three-run homer turned a 2-0 lead into a 5-0 lead, and the Sox remained in control the rest of the way.
Sanchez went 3 for 4 and finished the series 6 for 12 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and four RBIs.
The win finished up a 5-3 homestand for the South Siders. The Sox are 9-5 in their past 14 home games, so at least they are playing better before their fans at Guaranteed Rate Field. Their 2-8 road record this month stinks, but being able to compete and win at home is a step forward over what we were seeing for most of June and July.