CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox gave rookie starter Erik Johnson no help.
Conor Gillaspie committed three of the White Sox’s four errors in a 9-1 loss Tuesday night to the Detroit Tigers.
Five of Detroit’s runs were unearned. First baseman Paul Konerko made an error when Gillaspie’s wide throw ticked off his glove.
Gillaspie, who became the first White Sox player to commit three errors in a game since Andy Gonzalez on Aug. 30, 2007, said he’s sure he’ll “laugh about it 10 years from now.” But he wasn’t giggling about it Tuesday.
Obviously it was very difficult tonight, and I can honestly say that’s probably the worst I’ve ever felt playing defense,” Gillaspie said. “I can’t say that there’s too many days where I’m kind of hoping, `Hey, I hope the ball doesn’t get hit.’ Tonight was one of those nights.”
In two starts, Johnson has already seen those kind of nights happen to his defense twice.
In his first career start, against the Yankees on Sept. 4, Johnson pitched six innings and gave up five runs but only three earned. On Tuesday, Johnson (0-2) lasted just 3 2-3 innings, allowing six runs — two earned — on seven hits and three walks while throwing 105 pitches.
“He threw fine. Again, we didn’t help him at all. But he was fine,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Pitch-count wise, if we’re making a few plays here and there it’s probably a different story.”
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first on a pair of unearned runs.
Andy Dirks scored and Miguel Cabrera advanced to second on Gillaspie’s first throwing error. Following a single by Prince Fielder, the lumbering Cabrera scored from third on Victor Martinez’s sac fly.
Detroit added three more runs — two unearned — after two outs in the third to increase its lead to 5-0.
Fielder lined a homer just inside the right field foul pole to make it 3-0. Following a single, walk and error charged to Konerko, Alex Avila singled in two more unearned runs.
Johnson couldn’t work around the defensive issues.
“That’s all about being part of a team; each teammate picking up another teammate,” Johnson said.
Fielder singled in another run in the fourth to make it 6-0. Gillaspie singled in a run in the bottom of the inning to cut it to 6-1.
Avila scored in the fifth on Gillaspie’s second throwing error to extend Detroit’s lead to 7-1. The Tigers added two runs in the ninth of Daniel Webb, Chicago’s fourth reliever while extending their lead over Cleveland in the AL Central to 5 1/2 games.
“We haven’t been playing well, and this is the time of year you’ve got to be playing well and I thought we came out today with a little bit of attitude,” Avila said.
Rick Porcello (12-8) scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked one to pitch his first career complete game. The 24-year-old right-hander retired 14 straight after Chicago scored its only run in the fourth.
“That’s not something I thought about too much,” Porcello said of the complete game, “but when you have the opportunity obviously you want be able to close the deal late in the game and I think there’s a learning curve to that.”
The White Sox, who’ve made 108 errors this season and tied a season-high Tuesday, have been forced to learn plenty this season. This night was a harsh lesson for Gillaspie.
“I’ll promise you that if there’s a ball hit the next time I’m in a game I’ll probably either wear it or get an error,” Gillaspie said. “I’m not afraid to, so sometimes you’ve just gotta shake it off, as hard as it is, and come back and work tomorrow.”
NOTES: White Sox OF Avisail Garcia was back in the lineup after getting two teeth pulled Monday. . White Sox C Miguel Gonzalez made his major league debut in the seventh when he replaced Josh Phegley. . Suspended Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta will work out with the Tigers before Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, GM Dave Dombrowski announced before the game. But no decision has been made to activate the two-time All-Star, who is eligible to return on Sept. 27 for the Tigers’ final three regular-season games in Miami. . Wednesday’s pitching matchup is Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez (13-7, 2.61) against Chicago’s Jose Quintana (7-6, 3.70).
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