Pelfrey, Tigers beat Sale, White Sox

Posted at 9:39 PM, Jun 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-04 21:39:22-04
DETROIT (AP) -- When manager Brad Ausmus told Mike Pelfrey that he was finished after six innings, the Detroit pitcher resigned himself to yet another winless outing.
At the time, the Tigers were trailing Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox by a run.
"I knew coming into the game that I was going to have to do a good job to give us a chance, especially against Chris," Pelfrey said. "When Skip told me I was done after six, I figured that was probably the end of my shot."
But with one out in the bottom of the inning, Victor Martinez singled and J.D. Martinez launched a long homer over the Chicago bullpen to give Pelfrey and the Tigers a lead, on their way to a 7-4 win.
Pelfrey wound up stopping an 18-start winless streak dating to last Aug. 12.
"That was pretty exciting," Pelfrey said. "I thought my luck was finally going to change."
Pelfrey got to sit back and enjoy the show as the Tigers added another run in the seventh and three more in the eighth.
Mark Lowe gave up a pair of runs in the ninth, but Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 16th save.
"That felt really good," said Pelfrey, still wiping the remnants of a beer shower out of his eyes. "That's my first one in Detroit, and the guys made sure to celebrate with me."
During the game, the White Sox announced they had acquired former All-Star pitcher James Shields and cash from San Diego for two players.
White Sox left fielder Jason Coats, making his major league debut, exited in the seventh inning after colliding with center fielder J.B. Shuck. Coats needed five stitches in his mouth, but passed concussion tests and was listed as day to day.
"I'm good, nothing too serious -- I just needed some stitches inside my lip but everything else is fine," he said. "It isn't exactly what I wanted, but I'm still happy I got to go out there today."
Pelfrey had gone 0-5 in his first 10 outings with the Tigers. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in six innings, striking out three.
"He's been working on his breaking ball, and I thought he threw his curve more than he has all season," Ausmus said. "He's pitched well enough several times lately to get a win, but we got him the support tonight."
Sale (9-2) failed again to become the first 10-game winner in the majors. He allowed four runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, and is now 0-2 in his last three starts.
"I felt fine, but I was just erratic with my command," he said. "After the first inning, I was keeping the ball down, but I left one up to J.D. and it didn't come back."
Victor Martinez went 2 for 2 with a walk against Sale, and is now hitting .500 (18-36) against the Chicago ace in his career.
For Detroit's annual Negro League Tribute game, the Tigers wore Detroit Stars jerseys while the White Sox were dressed as the Chicago American Giants.
Rain fell through much of the game, and had gotten slightly heavier when Martinez homered off Sale to give the Tigers the lead, but the game was never interrupted.
"When we made Sale throw 30-some pitches in the first inning, I was encouraged, because we thought there would be a delay at some point," Ausmus said. "It never got that bad, but we beat him anyway."
Tigers: Star Miguel Cabrera was back in the lineup after leaving Friday's game in the eighth inning with back stiffness. He hit the ball that Coats, an instant before the collision. ... Tigers manager Brad Ausmus confirmed that RHP Shane Greene, activated from the disabled list before the game, will pitch out of the bullpen to try to protect him from future blisters.
The Tigers held a moment of silence before the game for Muhammad Ali, who spent much of his later life living in southwest Michigan. Fittingly, the honor came during the Negro Leagues Tribute Weekend, another celebration of African-American athletes who fought segregation.
Before the moment of silence, the crowd gave a standing ovation during the reading of a long Ali quote about life.
The teams finish their three-game series Sunday afternoon with Jose Quintana (5-5, 2.13) facing Justin Verlander (4-5, 4.11). Quintana is 7-5 with a 1.92 ERA in his last 16 starts, dating back to last August.