Cespedes, Greene power Tigers to series win over White Sox
By Scott Merkin and Chris Vannini
DETROIT -- Yoenis Cespedes' power stroke all but ensured Jose Quintana of getting a decision in Sunday's 9-1 victory for the Tigers over the White Sox at Comerica Park. But it was not the one sought for by the man with a Major League-high 40 no-decisions since 2012.
Cespedes hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the first inning, and drove in a career-high six to spark a Tigers attack that featured every starter getting on base at least once. Cespedes is now 6-for-8 lifetime against Quintana, with four homers and nine RBIs.
Detroit left little doubt about its series victory by pounding out 10 hits and scoring nine runs over four-plus innings against Quintana. That runs allowed total represents a career high for Chicago's No. 3 starter, and the hits total stands as just the fifth time in his career he has allowed double-digits in a game.
"He just seemed to be 3-2 on everybody," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Quintana. "Unusual for him to really be like that, so you just chalk it up to a bad day for him."
That output was more than enough for Shane Greene, who improved to 3-0 by allowing one earned run over seven innings. That run allowed in the sixth inning ended Greene's streak of 21 innings without an earned run to start the season. He struck out three and walked one, giving up five hits one day after the White Sox knocked out 17 hits and scored 12 runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Overworked early: Quintana stood at 39 first-inning pitches but had yet to allow a run when he faced a two-out, bases-loaded situation with a 3-2 count on Cespedes. Pitch No. 40 changed the look of the game. Cespedes connected on the fastball for a grand slam, and Quintana finished the inning at 42 pitches -- just 23 for strikes.
"Just a bad day. I have to forget it," Quintana said. "Keep working hard every time. I have confidence in myself every time we go out there. I have to make adjustments and get better.'' More >
It's easy being Greene: Greene entered Sunday's game looking to become the first Tigers pitcher to open a season with three straight scoreless starts. It lasted until the sixth inning, when Jose Abreu's triple drove home a run. More >
Early struggles: Adam Eaton finished 0-for-2 with a walk in Sunday's loss, dropping him to 6-for-44 for the season. Eaton also had a baserunning gaffe in the first, when he was doubled off of first on Abreu's lineout to right, despite Eaton not running on the pitch. Eaton did make a slick running catch in the fourth to take away extra bases from James McCann.
"He just seems to be pushing too hard," Ventura said. "That's his natural personality, is to do that. He's really hard on himself. Even last year, he had that fracture in his hand, and it slowed him down enough. I'm not saying for him to do that, but you would like him to slow it down a little bit."
"He's that type of player. If you touch him, he's all muscle. It's ridiculous how strong he is." -- Detroit's Nick Castellanos, on Cespedes.
"If we do what we are capable of, there's no reason why we are not at the top of this thing." -- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, on maintaining confidence despite a 4-7 start.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
In the sixth inning, Abreu fouled two consecutive pitches off of his inner right thigh and his left foot, respectively. Two pitches later, Abreu's hard-hit line drive to right was played into a triple by J.D. Martinez and brought home Melky Cabrera with the club's only run. It also marked Abreu's 80th career extra-base hit. That is the most extra-base hits by a player through his first 156 career games since Evan Longoria (87, 2008-09).
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:John Danks starts a three-game series against the Indians and a seven-game homestand for the White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Danks has a 5-12 career record against the Indians and is 1-7 with a 6.42 ERA over 10 career starts at U.S. Cellular against Cleveland. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. CT. The White Sox are expected to call up top prospect Carlos Rodon and slot him in the bullpen on Monday. More >
Tigers: The Tigers welcome the Yankees to Detroit for a four-game series, beginning Monday at 7:08 p.m. ET. Alfredo Simon will be on the mound for his third start after pitching eight scoreless innings in his last outing, allowing only two hits in a 1-0 win against the Pirates on Wednesday. Simon is 2-0 this season with a 2.03 ERA.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.