Huge leads aren't really typical of the White Sox approach, and after Tuesday afternoon fans may grow to have a healthy distrust of them altogether.
With the offense having finally gotten to Tigers' starter Max Scherzer in their already third matchup of the season, and de-facto ace Jake Peavy on the hill staked to a 5-0 lead in the 6th inning, a lot of things needed to go wrong at once to undo the good work the Sox had done.
It was at this point that a lot of things went wrong at once.
Peavy's command evaporated on the spot. A hit batter, a groundout, four hits--two of them of the 400-feet-and-change variety--and it was 6-5. At this time, Will Ohman arrived to stop the bleeding.
Ohman, a specialist at retiring left-handed batters, suffered a fate that's become familiar to him in his time on the South side; death at the hands of righties.
Ohman plunked pinch-hitter Delmon Young and quickly followed it up by allowing a massive 3-run homer to dead center by Austin Jackson, giving Detroit a lead they would never relinquish.
Poetically, it would be Ohman's failures to retire the actual lefties he faced the next inning that gave the Tigers the insurance runs they would need to survive the offense's spirited 9th inning rally, as an 8-run effort went to waste.
Tigers 10, White Sox 8
Jake Peavy - 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR - While he was more than due for a rough outing, Jake fell apart so swiftly, against a lineup he had navigated so successfully for nearly 20 innings, that all will wonder about him until he does us the courtesy of clarifying.
Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 5, R, K - There were better offensive outings wasted than this one, that's for sure.
Paul Konerko - 3 for 4, HR, 3 R, BB, K - This was one of them.
A.J. Pierzynski - 5 for 5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI - Wasting this one was an absolute travesty.
Dayan Viciedo - 2 for 5, RBI - For the first time all year, Dayan managed to have back-to-back multi-hit games, and his enduring memory of the day will be his 9th inning fly ball caught at the wall for the final out. A travesty.
Will Ohman - IP, 2 H, 4 ER, BB, HR, HBP - Is he misused or not a major league pitcher? A topic for a follow-up post!
Miguel Cabrera's two-run shot in the 6th to break the shutout in the scoring didn't read as anything more than a great hitter breaking through.
Ryan Raburn crushing a hanging slider for a 3-run homer snapped the Sox out of the notion that they would cruise to an easy win.
Austin Jackson's 3-run blast to dead center gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead.
Because it all happened in about 15 minutes, it's hard to differentiate the three moments.
Things Would Be Different If...
...Ohman and Ventura didn't combine for the game's most embarrassing stretch. As Peavy blew up in the 6th, Ventura clearly felt squeezed for who to turn to out of the pen in the wake of the second-straight short start, along with Reed and Thornton both having pitched back-to-back days.
So he turned to Ohman to retire lefty Don Kelly, and was promptly out-managed by Jim Leyland, who countered with his right-handed regular starting left fielder as a sub.
A home run and a hit batter wasn't enough to convince Ventura that Ohman's problems wouldn't be fixed by a slate of lefties, and after he retired only one of the three left-handed batters he faced in the 7th, the Sox were in another jam.
A brutal, avoidable loss that wasted a superb offensive effort, and a chance to leapfrog Detroit in the standings.
It's only May, though, and it was nice to see those hits.
Team Record: 17-20, 3.5 GB