DETROIT -- Friday's walk-off victory for the Tigers at Comerica Park felt like a punch in the gut to the visiting White Sox.
In Saturday's 3-2 win, the White Sox counter-punched. But they couldn't claim the nine-inning decision without what amounted to a standing eight count during Detroit's final at-bat.
Holding a one-run advantage, courtesy of Adam Dunn's titanic 422-foot, two-run blast off Jose Valverde (2-1) in the top of the ninth, Hector Santiago went after one of his final saves before Chris Sale takes over the last line of pitching defense on Monday. Santiago issued a one-out walk to Jhonny Peralta, and one out later, Ryan Raburn laced a full-count fastball into left-center for a double.
With the tying run on third, winning run on second and right-handed-hitting leadoff man Austin Jackson at the plate, manager Robin Ventura made the call to Addison Reed. The rookie right-hander threw five fastballs at 96 or 97 mph, and when he climbed the ladder on the final 1-2 pitch, Jackson swung through it for the game-ending strikeout.
Reed picked up his first career save, while tying Sergio Santos' franchise record for most consecutive scoreless appearances to start the season by a rookie at 12. Nate Jones, who worked a scoreless eighth, picked up his first Major League victory and received the customary beer shower.
As for the memorabilia from these important career moments, Reed and Jones were trying to figure out a way to share.
"I think me and Addison are going to split the ball," said a smiling Jones, who has a 1.64 ERA over eight games.
"They asked me and I said, 'Give it to Nate,'" Reed said. "A win is a little more important than a save. I don't know what they are doing. It would be kind of cool if they cut the ball in half."
Reed and Jones wouldn't have found their own little corner of baseball history if not for Dunn. The White Sox slugger broke up Max Scherzer's perfect game on a sharp single to right with two outs in the fourth, and flew out to the left-field wall against Scherzer leading off the seventh.
Dunn did not miss against Valverde in the ninth, with Alejandro De Aza on third after a leadoff single, stolen base and Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice bunt. His blast to right almost cleared the right-field bleachers, helping the White Sox (13-14) avoid their fourth straight loss and slipping three games under .500 for the first time this season.
"Everybody knows Adam Dunn is a good hitter. I missed a little bit and he got it," said Valverde.. "There's nothing I can do. I did my job yesterday. I didn't do it today. And now I got to get ready for tomorrow."
"He's got a good splitty, and I was just trying to get something to where the infield was in to where I could get the ball in the air and I definitely didn't want to chase anything," Dunn said. "I just got a pitch I could get in the air and it happened to go out."
Gavin Floyd certainly pitched well enough to win, allowing seven hits over seven innings, with four of those hits coming in the second inning when the Tigers (13-13) scored both of their runs. But these weren't your garden variety line shots to the outfield.
Alex Avila started the one-out rally with a hard grounder up the middle that Ramirez gloved but couldn't make the throw. Peralta followed with a broken-bat single to left that barely stretched past Ramirez's attempt to corral it.
Andy Dirks then chopped a grounder between second and third, which he couldn't have placed any more perfectly if he threw it out there. Third-base coach Gene Lamont sent Avila home, despite left fielder Dayan Viciedo getting to the ball about the same time Avila hit third, but Viciedo's throw home was high and Avila scored easily.
One out later, Jackson singled off Brent Morel's glove as the third baseman made a diving attempt on the ground ball. The deflection rolled past Ramirez, who was getting ready to make the play behind Morel, and Peralta scored.
Other than that frame, only one Tigers runner reached second base against Floyd. Dirks doubled with one out in the seventh, but was stranded at third when Brennan Boesch flew out to right fielder Alex Rios.
The White Sox couldn't do much with Scherzer, who clearly has more talent than his 6.32 ERA indicates. Paul Konerko's solo homer in the seventh was Scherzer's only blemish over seven innings and 97 pitches, as he gave up four hits without a walk while fanning nine.
"When he gets a head of steam, he can be real tough," said Konerko of Scherzer. "He had his good stuff today. So it was nice for us to win that game because we didn't have much going on all day."
Completing this comeback and holding on for the win gives the White Sox a chance to deliver the series knockout Sunday afternoon. They certainly departed the clubhouse in much better spirits than they exited with on Friday.
"It's a heartbreaker when you lose them," Floyd said. "It's exciting when you win them."
"You're coming off last night when you get punched in the gut," Ventura said. "To come back and do it right back is a credit to the guys."