Avisail Garcia expected to get the night off against his former teammates on Tuesday. Instead, he provided one of the few bright spots in an ugly game for the Chicago White Sox.
Garcia entered in the fifth inning after an injury to rookie Charlie Tilson and hit a pair of long home runs off Detroit Tigers relievers. It wasn't enough to prevent an 11-5 loss, but it gave Garcia a boost of confidence.
"You hate coming into a game because of an injury, but I wanted to take the chance I got," said Garcia, who began his career with the Tigers. "It felt great to hit those two balls hard."
Garcia's second homer cleared the first section of seats in left field and was estimated at 465 feet.
"We've always known that Avi has the potential to hit balls like that, and it is great to see him start to do it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's a big kid, and he's finally putting it all together.
"That one had some serious distance on it."
Todd Frazier hit his 30th homer for the White Sox, but they were never able to dig themselves out of the hole created by Detroit's six-run fifth.
James Shields (3-6) held the Tigers scoreless for the first four innings, then got hit hard in the fifth. He had allowed only five runs in his previous four starts combined, and Ventura thought a six-day layoff might have been the problem.
"He's been great, but you know that starters like to keep in that rhythm when they are going good," Ventura said. "The way our rotation worked out, he had that extended rest, and he just didn't have it tonight."
Chicago couldn't get anything going against Anibal Sanchez (5-12).
The right-hander allowed one run in six innings to win for the first time as a starter since April 28 — a span of 11 starts. He gave up six hits and three walks, and didn't yield a homer. He came into the game having served up 18 home runs in 94 2/3 innings.
"This might be the best I've pitched all year," said Sanchez, who lost his rotation spot in June but got it back due to injuries. "I felt really good with my command. That's something that I've been looking for all year long."
Miguel Cabrera hit his third home run in two games and Victor Martinez also went deep for Detroit. Andrew Romine and Cameron Maybin tripled in a six-run fifth for the Tigers.
The White Sox broke a scoreless tie on Dioner Navarro's RBI single in the fourth. Sanchez, though, retired Tilson with runners at the corners to end the inning.
Chicago put its first two batters on in the fifth, but Sanchez picked off Tyler Saladino and worked out of the jam. The Tigers took advantage in the bottom of the inning.
Romine, getting a rare start at third base in place of Nick Castellanos, led off with a triple and scored on Jose Iglesias' sacrifice fly. Ian Kinsler singled and Maybin tripled into the left-field corner to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Cabrera's double gave Detroit a two-run advantage, and Martinez followed with Detroit's fourth extra-base hit of the inning, an RBI double.
Justin Upton singled and, after Shields finally got the second out, James McCann made it 6-1 with a two-run single.
Cabrera added a two-run homer in the sixth.
Garcia hit a two-run shot off Shane Greene in the seventh, but Kinsler had a two-run single to make it 10-3.
Frazier homered in the eighth to tie Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo for the major league lead.
After Martinez connected in the Tigers eighth, Garcia hit his second off Mark Lowe.
White Sox: Tilson, playing his first major league game, had to be helped off the field in the fifth after straining his left hamstring while chasing Cabrera's double. His leg buckled under him, and Adam Eaton had to field the ball in right-center while Tilson was lying on the field. Ventura said after the game that Tilson was undergoing tests, with results expected Wednesday.
Tigers: Detroit got good news on all three of its injured players. LHP Daniel Norris (oblique) was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Toledo, where he will prep as Detroit's sixth starter. RF J.D. Martinez (elbow) will be activated for Wednesday's game and Jordan Zimmermann (neck) will start on Thursday.
PERFECT AT THE PLATE
Tilson singled in his first career at-bat, a grounder up the middle in the third inning. It was the second time in two games that a visiting player got his first hit at Comerica Park. Houston's Alex Bregman did it on Sunday. Both times, Cabrera presented the player with the ball at first base and offered a congratulatory pat on the back.
The teams play the second in a three-game series Wednesday night, with Chicago ace Chris Sale (14-4, 3.17 ERA) facing Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.50) in a matchup of two of the American League's best starters. The last time Sale was scheduled to face the Tigers, he was scratched and suspended after shredding throwback uniforms.