Jones fuels Tigers to sweep of White Sox

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[September 01, 2016]  DETROIT -- JaCoby Jones' dream day morphed into a 48-hour extravaganza on Wednesday afternoon.

The Detroit Tigers rookie drove in two runs, including the go-ahead RBI, in his major-league debut on Tuesday. He followed that up by smacking a pair of doubles and scoring the winning run in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

"Probably the best two days of my life," said Jones, who started in center field after making his debut at third base. "It's just amazing. Everything I could ask."

Jones led off the bottom of the ninth with a double off the right-center field wall against David Robertson (4-3). Jones advanced to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's long fly out, then scored on pinch hitter Tyler Collins' game-winning sacrifice fly as the Tigers swept a three-game series.

"He's gotten big hits, whether it's driving in runs yesterday or leading off the bottom of the ninth with a double today," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "That right there injects energy."

The Tigers' brass didn't decide to promote Jones from Triple-A Toledo until after Monday's series opener. General manager Al Avila suggested it that afternoon and the final decision was made that evening.

No one could have expected Jones to make such a swift impact.

 

"Impressive. He's been a real sparkplug for us, a shot in arm the last couple of games," Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander said. "Today, that ball almost had a chance to leave (the ballpark) and you don't see young guys like that going to the opposite field in that part of the park very often. It's a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully, it's the beginning of an amazing career."

Francisco Rodriguez (3-4) tossed an inning of scoreless relief to pick up the win.

Verlander gave up back-to-back homers to Jose Abreu and his former batterymate, Alex Avila, in the fourth but only allowed one other baserunner in his seven-inning stint. He walked none and struck out nine.

"I know I'm going to be hearing about it," Verlander said of Avila's center-field blast. "I think I'm going to ask him back for one of the watches I gifted him."

Chicago starter Chris Sale gave up two runs on eight hits in eight innings. He tied his season high with four walks while striking out six.

"With Justin and him, that's the kind of matchup that you expect it to be," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We got a couple of homers and I thought Chris was great. It wasn't like he was lighting it up with his velocity but he has the stuff to get through it and he pitched very well against a lineup that's very tough."

Chicago had won six of eight before coming up empty in Detroit.

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Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) is lifted in to the air by second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) after scoring the winning run against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

"It's tough," Ventura said. "We were playing pretty good baseball but those guys, they've been snipping us off at the end. We played fairly well early on but with the lineup they have, it's a pretty deep lineup that's hard to contain."

Verlander was cruising along until the fourth inning.

Abreu smacked his 19th homer of the season with two outs. Avila then hit a majestic blast into the shrubbery above the center-field wall.

The Tigers had plenty of traffic on the bases in the early going but hit into three double plays in the first four innings. They had a breakthrough of sorts in the fifth, when Jones led off with a double and scored on Andrew Romine's single. Detroit stranded two runners in that inning when Sale struck out Victor Martinez.

That was Sale's first strikeout of the game after recording a season-high 14 against Seattle in his last start.

The Tigers tied it in the eighth. Ian Kinsler drilled a leadoff double and advanced on a sacrifice. Sale struck out Victor Martinez again but J.D. Martinez followed with a sharp single to left, making it 2-2.

NOTES: Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera was not in the starting lineup because of a minor ankle issue. Manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera's surgically-repaired right ankle flared up in recent days and wanted to give him two days off his feet. The Tigers have an off-day on Thursday. ... Tigers RHP Bruce Rondon, who collected the win on Tuesday, has not allowed a run in 11 of his last 12 appearances. ... White Sox LF Melky Cabrera was a late scratch due to stomach discomfort. He left Tuesday's game in the eighth inning after feeling dehydrated. ... Chicago lost nine of its last 10 games at Comerica Park. ... White Sox RF Adam Eaton has 17 outfield assists, tying him with Pittsburgh's Starling Marte for the major league lead. ... Detroit begins at three-game series at Kansas City on Friday. The Tigers are 2-5 at Kauffman Stadium this season.

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