Detroit Tigers’ pen flounders late in 4-2 loss to Chicago White Sox

CHICAGO — Javier Báez stood in the batter’s box and watched the ball fly over the wall in left-center field.

On the second pitch of his at-bat, Báez unloaded on a fastball from Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech. He celebrated his home run by tossing his bat and interacting with fans that booed him. More importantly, he put the Detroit Tigers on the scoreboard in the first inning.

The Tigers failed to score again.

The teams split the four-game series, with the Tigers losing 4-2 in Sunday’s finale at Guaranteed Rate Field because of a costly eighth-inning error by left fielder Robbie Grossman.

“We missed some opportunities offensively,” manager AJ Hinch said, “and then gave them an extra out at a really bad time of the game, where they’re in the middle of their order. … Credit to them, of course , but we opened the door for them and made some mistakes.”

The Tigers (36-49) extended their winning streak to six with victories Thursday and Friday but have since dropped back-to-back games, with eight contests remaining until the All-Star break.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez makes the tag on Chicago White Sox Andrew Vaughn during the first inning of a baseball game ,Sunday, July 10, 2022, in Chicago.

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With two outs in the eighth, Luis Robert hits a weak fly ball into shallow left-center off right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer. Grossman tracked it down, reached across his body and turned his wrist toward the sky in an attempt to make the catch, but the ball bounced off his glove and landed on the grass.

Just like that, the White Sox had a runner on second.

“It was a pop-up, and I missed it,” Grossman said. “That’s what it comes down to. That’s a terrible play. It’s a play that has to be made, and I’ll make it the next time it comes to me.”

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