DETROIT — Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox were one out away from taking a lead into the ninth inning, only to have another game in Detroit slip away.
Sale allowed a tying RBI single by J.D. Martinez in the eighth, and the Tigers added another run in the ninth to beat Chicago 3-2 on Wednesday. Detroit completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox. Chicago has now lost 10 of its last 11 at Comerica Park and 43 of its last 59.
“It’s a good team,” Sale said. “That’s what good teams do, they find ways to win, and they certainly did that.”
JaCoby Jones doubled twice in his second major league game, then dashed home for the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Collins. After a day after doubling, singling and driving in two runs in his debut, Jones scored twice.
“He’s been a real spark plug for us — a shot in the arm,” teammate Justin Verlander said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch, and hopefully it’s the beginning of an amazing career.”
Jones hit a leadoff double in the ninth against David Robertson (4-3) and advanced to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s deep flyball.
Collins came up as a pinch hitter and was able to lift the ball to left-center. Avisail Garcia made the catch, but his throw bounced before it even reached the mound.
Francisco Rodriguez (2-3) pitched the ninth.
Jose Abreu and Alex Avila homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth for the White Sox.
Sale allowed two runs and eight hits in eight innings against a Detroit lineup that was without Miguel Cabrera. The slugging first baseman sat out because his right ankle had been acting up.
Chicago was without Melky Cabrera, who missed the game because of stomach discomfort.
Verlander allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings for the Tigers, striking out nine.
“I thought both of them, Justin and (Sale), this is the kind of matchup that you expected it to be,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said.
Verlander retired the first eight hitters he faced, striking out six of them. With two outs in the fourth, Abreu connected for his 19th homer of the year. Avila, who spent his entire career in Detroit before this season, followed with a drive to the bushes beyond the wall in center, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead against his former batterymate.
“It felt good. Yeah, it felt good,” Avila said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it at some point. He did strike me out twice, too.”
Verlander did not allow another baserunner after Avila’s home run. Detroit scored a run on Andrew Romine’s single in the fifth, and Martinez tied it with a two-out RBI single in the eighth.
Verlander laughed when asked about giving up the home run to Avila.
“I know I’m going to be hearing about it,” Verlander said. “I think I’m going to ask him back for one of the watches I gifted him. It’s only fair, I think.”
NEXT YEAR’S SCHEDULE
Detroit opens against the White Sox in Chicago on April 3 and the Tigers host Boston on April 7 in their home opener, according to a draft of the 2017 preliminary schedule. The preliminary schedule will be announced by Major League Baseball in September.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (neck) pitched four innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo at Indianapolis on Wednesday, allowing one unearned run and one hit. He walked one and struck out four.
White Sox: Chicago plays at Minnesota on Thursday night. LHP Jose Quintana (11-9) starts against Ervin Santana (6-10).
Tigers: Detroit has Thursday off before playing at Kansas City. RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-13) takes the mound against Danny Duffy (11-2) of the Royals on Friday night.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.