DETROIT - Eloy Jiménez hit a two-run home run, Yasmani Grandal homered to spark a six-run fourth inning and the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox held off the Detroit Tigers in a testy 8-7 win on Monday.
The benches cleared after Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu and Detroit shortstop Niko Goodrum exchanged words when Abreu was tagged out attempting to steal second base in the ninth.
Abreu had been hit by a pitch from Alex Lange one inning after the Tigers’ Isaac Paredes was hit by a pitch. There were no ejections regarding the altercation, though White Sox bench coach Miguel Cairo was tossed for arguing after Abreu was hit.
Chicago manager Tony La Russa insinuated that Abreu was plunked intentionally.
"It seems they have issues when someone plays aggressively but not when they pitch aggressively and beyond the limits," he said. "The game is played two ways, not just one way."
Lange said he wasn’t trying to hit Abreu in a one-run game.
"He’s leaning out over the plate. He sees I’m working away," Lange said. "Our report says finish up-and-in and that’s where I was going. Obviously, it wasn’t intentional. I’m pitching to my report."
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch backed up Lange’s claim.
"If you throw it out over the plate, he destroys you. We threw it inside and it hit him," he said. "He went in aggressively into second, (a) little old-school with the slide. Tensions got high, emotions got high and we’re all out on the field. .. I don’t think they hit us on purpose and I don’t think we hit them on purpose. Emotions just boiled over."
Abreu, who had only one steal attempt this season prior to Monday, slid past the bag. But winning pitcher Dallas Keuchel didn’t feel Abreu figuratively crossed the line.
"I thought the slide was hard at second base but it was a good slide," he said. "Now, any time somebody slides hard into second base it’s always taken into consideration."
Abreu, who has been hit by a pitch 21 times this season, was not made available to the media.
Jimenez reached base four times and scored two runs. Cesar Hernandez and Zack Collins drove in two runs apiece in the makeup of a game postponed last Wednesday because of rain.
Keuchel (9-9) gave up two runs on seven hits in five innings. Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth, giving up one hit, for his 37th save.
Jonathan Schoop homered for the Tigers, who had defeated Chicago in their last four meetings. Eric Haase had a two-run single and Niko Goodrum supplied a two-run triple during the Tigers’ five-run eighth.
Matt Manning (4-7) issued a career-high five walks while allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Detroit trailed 8-2 prior to the eighth-inning outburst. Schoop hit a sacrifice fly after the run-scoring hits by Haase and Goodrum. The Tigers had runners at the corners with two out before reliever Garrett Crochet retired Zack Short on a foul pop.
La Russa called it one of the better wins of the season.
"It is very difficult to get your body to feel good enough to compete as well as we did," he said. "The only way they did was mentally they reached down as deep and as tough as we have all year."
OFF THE ROAD
The White Sox finished 6-5 on an 11-day road trip during which they clinched their first Central title since 2008. They’ll play five home games, including three against the Tigers, before the postseason begins.
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
The loss was the 81st for Detroit, assuring that it will not have a winning record for a fifth consecutive season.
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 3.16 ERA) will start the opener of a two-game series against Cincinnati on Tuesday. Lopez is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA this month and has given up a combined four home runs in his last two starts.
Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.10 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday. Alexander has a 7.20 ERA in four appearances, including two starts, against the Twins this season.