Detroit Tigers lose 2-0 to Chicago White Sox; Michael Kopech pulled with no-hitter intact

·5 min read

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa removed right-hander Michael Kopech from his start after the sixth inning with a no-hitter intact.

The 26-year-old was in complete control.

Kopech, in his 21st start this season, was replaced by righty reliever Reynaldo Lopez for the seventh inning. The first batter Lopez faced, Javier Báez, laced a single into right field to spoil the chance at a combined no-hitter.

The Detroit Tigers lost, 2-0, in the first of three games against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, as reliever Alex Lange gave up two runs on three singles, one walk and one hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the seventh.

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The Tigers (43-71) were shut out for the 16th time in 2022.

Báez, amid boos from fans in the stands, notched his team's third and final hit in the ninth inning, a one-out single off White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, to put the game-tying run at the plate. But Harold Castro popped out and Miguel Cabrera grounded out.

"Carrying stuff throughout the year, there's not a happy guy in the clubhouse before or after the game tonight," manager A.J. Hinch told reporters in Chicago. "But you got to bring it every night. This city is special to him. They boo him like crazy, here with the White Sox. Javy loves an environment like that. He got two hits and made plays in the field. I hope they keep booing him."

Kopech threw fastballs for 66% of his 85 pitches, and with those 56 fastballs, he produced 17 swings and misses and 11 called strikes for a 50% called-strike-plus-whiff rate. The Tigers fouled nine fastballs and put just two heaters in play.

The Tigers' offense entered Friday ranked 30th in baseball against fastballs, worth minus-52.2 fastballs runs.

"We expanded," Hinch said. "We didn't control the strike zone very well. We chased a lot above. We chased a little bit in. He was pounding strikes. His stuff was pretty electric tonight. ... It was his night, but we did help him in and around the strike zone."

Kopech totaled 22 swings and misses, also throwing 18 sliders (21%), six changeups (7%) and five curveballs (6%). Of his 11 strikeouts, eight came from his fastball and three came from his slider. He walked three batters: Willi Castro in the first inning, Akil Baddoo in the third and Cabrera in the fifth.

After Castro's one-out walk, Báez grounded into a double play. After Baddoo's two-out walk, he stole second base before Riley Greene grounded out. After Cabrera's leadoff walk, Kopech struck out three straight batters.

White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech delivers against the Tigers during the first inning Aug. 12, 2022 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech delivers against the Tigers during the first inning Aug. 12, 2022 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Kopech racked up three strikeouts in the second inning, one strikeout in the third, two strikeouts in the fourth, three strikeouts in the fifth and two strikeouts in the sixth. He retired the final five batters — including four with strikeouts — when La Russa ended his outing.

Báez's single off Lopez to start the seventh, and his ensuing stole base, put a runner in scoring position, but the next three batters — Harold Castro, Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario — were retired in order.

Candelario struck out swinging on a curveball to strand Báez at third base.

For the Tigers' second hit, Baddoo singled with two outs in the eighth inning.

Old friend returns

Left-hander Daniel Norris, who signed a minor-league contract in late July, started in the big leagues for the third time in the past three seasons, and for the first time since 2019, he completed more than three innings.

The 29-year-old went 4⅔ scoreless innings on 64 pitches (38 strikes), allowing four hits and two walks with one strikeout.

"He set the tone," Hinch said.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch removes Daniel Norris (44) during the fifth inning of a game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Aug. 12, 2022 in Chicago.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch removes Daniel Norris (44) during the fifth inning of a game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Aug. 12, 2022 in Chicago.

His defense helped by turning double plays in the second and fourth innings. Both walks — one of which was erased on a double play — occurred in the second, and two of the four hits were collected in the fourth.

Norris sent down the first two batters in the fifth inning, but AJ Pollock received three straight sliders and smacked the third with a 108.6 mph exit velocity for a double to center field. That's when right-handed reliever Jason Foley entered from the bullpen to face Andrew Vaughn.

Vaughn grounded out to end the inning.

Norris threw 21 sliders (33%), 17 changeups (27%), 12 four-seam fastballs (19%), nine sinkers (14%) and five curveballs (8%). He had eight swings and misses: two sliders, two changeups, three four-seamers and one curveball.

"It looks like he's cleaned up some things over the plate," Hinch said. "He attacked today, which was good. That's not how he pitched early in the season, so I think he made an adjustment and his stuff was pretty good. His breaking ball was good. He has a new curveball that he hasn't always used. His changeup was good."

Lange takes loss in seventh

Although Vaughn missed his opportunity in the fifth, he capitalized in a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the seventh. He yanked Lange's second-pitch curveball at the bottom of the strike zone into shallow right field for a two-run single and a 2-0 advantage.

Before Vaughn stepped to the plate, Yoan Moncada singled, Josh Harrison singled and AJ Pollock drew a walk.

Lange walked six batters over 19⅔ innings in his first 22 games, from April 8 through May 30, but since then, the 26-year-old — armed with a nasty swing-and-miss arsenal — has walked 16 batters over 25⅓ innings in his past 28 games, from June 2 through Aug. 12.

Pitching coach Chris Fetter emerged for a mound visit following Vaughn's two-run single.

But for Lange's next pitch, he threw behind Adam Engel, who replaced an injured Luis Robert (sprained left wrist), and issued a free pass with a hit-by-pitch. He escaped further damage when Abreu grounded out on a first-pitch sinker to end the seventh.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

Next up: White Sox

Matchup: Tigers (43-71) at Chicago White Sox (57-56).

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Saturday; Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago.

TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit; WXYT-FM (97.1).

Probable pitchers: Tigers — RHP Matt Manning (0-0, 2.25 ERA); White Sox — RHP Lucas Giolito (8-6, 4.19).

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers muster only 3 hits, lose at Chicago White Sox, 2-0