DETROIT — When Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch replaced Miguel Cabrera with Harold Castro ahead of the seventh inning, he didn't necessarily expect the utility player to take on the role of a hero in Monday's series opener against the Chicago White Sox.
But that's exactly what Castro did.
Facing White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel, Castro delivered a two-out single through the right side, scoring Robbie Grossman from second base. He lifted the Tigers a 4-3 victory Monday at Comerica Park.
To prepare for the game-winning hit, the Tigers received scoreless efforts from relievers Ian Krol (one inning) and Drew Hutchison (two innings).
Alex Lange pitched the ninth inning and logged the first save of his MLB career.
What was Hernandez thinking?
After the White Sox posted the first three runs of the game in the top of the third inning, the Tigers answered with three of their own in the bottom half. The offense forced Chicago starter Carlos Rodon to chuck 30 pitches in the second, and he didn't look the same upon returning the third — from his velocity to his location to his results.
The first three batters reached base: Isaac Paredes (walk), Willi Castro (single) and Victor Reyes (RBI single). The single from Reyes, which was deflected by second baseman Cesar Hernandez, cut the Tigers' deficit to 3-1.
And the next at-bat featured a big mistake.
Jonathan Schoop put the ball in play up the middle, slightly to the right side of second base. Hernandez fielded the ball with his glove, transferred it to his throwing hand and attempted to chase Reyes between first and second base. When Reyes backpedaled and purposefully fell backward, Hernandez tagged him in the chest with his glove — except the ball was still in his bare hand.