DETROIT (AP) — Coming into this season, the Detroit Tigers had started 9-1 just twice since World War I: in 1968 and 1984, the years of Detroit’s last two World Series titles.
Detroit has won nine of its first 10 games once again following Friday’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox, which ended on Jose Iglesias’ ninth-inning single.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in yesterday, but they also can’t take these wins away from us,” Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus said.
Detroit’s rally was aided by a controversial call White Sox Manager Robin Ventura didn’t challenge because he made his decision too late.
Nick Castellanos led off the ninth with a sinking liner to right off Zach Duke (1-1) that Melky Cabrera couldn’t grab cleanly. Castellanos stretched the hit into a double, and while replays appeared to show shortstop Alexei Ramirez tagging him on a toe, second-base umpire Brian O’Nora called the runner safe.
“It was a bang-bang play, and I couldn’t really feel if he touched me or not,” Castellanos said. “A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they take it for granted and call you out. I was happy that didn’t happen.”
Ramirez signaled, and Ventura came out to discuss the play with the umpires.
He did not immediately ask for a replay review.
“Brian said he missed him,” Ventura explained. “I wish I could have watched the play.”
Ventura returned to the dugout, then came back on the field after hearing from the team’s replay staff. Umpires ruled the time for a challenge had lapsed because the manager had gone back to the dugout and the Tigers had inserted Andrew Romine to pinch run for Castellanos.
“The video shows what happened,” Ramirez said. “It was clear. I’m 100 percent sure I tagged him.”
Alex Avila sacrificed Romine to third, and Iglesias fouled off two 0-2 pitches before singling to right-center, just past second baseman Emilio Bonifacio’s dive.
“When you are in that situation, you can’t try to do too much,” Iglesias said. “You just have to see the ball, make sure you can make contact and see what happens.”
A second-inning home run by former Tiger Avisail Garcia put Chicago ahead. Yoenis Cespedes homered in the fourth, a drive that cleared the first section of seats in left.
David Price pitched four-hit ball over eight innings with nine strikeouts and two walks, and Joakim Soria (1-0) threw a perfect ninth.
Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija gave up one run and eight hits in eight innings, struck out seven and walked none.
“When you are facing their ace, you know you’ve got to be ready,” Samardzija said. “I knew I had to pound the strike zone, but the home run to Cespedes was basically the game. I wish I had that one back.”
White Sox: Right-handed pitcher Jake Petricka, who has not pitched this season due to a forearm strain, began a rehab stint Thursday night with Triple-A Charlotte. Petricka pitched a perfect inning of relief and is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday.
White Sox: Chris Sale (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will pitch against Detroit today against Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 3.46). Sale has a 2.84 ERA, against the Tigers with 106 strikeouts in 92 innings and a .220 batting average but is just 5-5.