DETROIT (AP) — While the Detroit Tigers are happy to see their offense continue to shine against the Chicago White Sox, they know the most important part of Saturday’s 10-1 victory was Jordan Zimmerman’s slider.
Zimmerman came into the game with a 6.47 ERA and had allowed at least four runs in five straight starts. He has struggled all season with his slider, which has always been his best pitch.
“I finally got it back today,” he said. “It was a pitch I had last April, but when I got hurt, I developed a different grip. I’ve monkeyed with it in the bullpen, and it is finally coming out the right way.”
Zimmermann (5-4) won for the second time in six starts, allowing one run and seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Detroit has won four of five.
“He’s still a work in progress,” said Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont, who took over for Brad Ausmus after a first-inning ejection. “He and (pitching coach) Rich (Dubee) have really put a lot of effort into this.”
Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Presley hit back-to-back homers in the second inning, and Alex Avila and Justin Upton also homered for the Tigers, who have outscored Chicago 25-6 in the first two games of the weekend series.
“It feels good right now,” Castellanos said. “I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball hard all year without getting the results, but things are falling for all of us right now.”
Miguel Gonzalez (4-6) lost his fifth straight road start, giving up six runs and 10 hits in six innings, including three of Detroit’s homers.
“This is really tough to swallow, because I thought I had good stuff today,” Gonzalez said. “I just lost my focus on three pitches, and they all got hit out of the park. We’re not in a situation where I can make mistakes like that.”
Castellanos and Presley put the Tigers ahead 2-0 with their homers in the second, and Detroit took control of the game with four runs in the fourth. RBI singles by Jose Iglesias and Andrew Romine made it 4-0, and Avila followed with a two-run homer.
Chicago loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Zimmermann got Melky Cabrera to pop out and end the inning. Todd Frazier’s double made it 6-1 in the sixth.
“We beat Zimmermann in his last start, but he obviously made some nice adjustments before this one,” White Sox manager Rich Renteria said.
Upton’s homer in the four-run eighth was Detroit’s fourth of the game and seventh of the series. Detroit has 19 extra-base hits in the last two days.