It was only the second game of the season.
But the Chicago White Sox needed a Dylan Cease-like performance on Saturday to fill the innings with injuries to other members of the rotation.
The right-hander allowed one run on two hits with eight strikeouts and scored three runs in five-plus innings as the Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2 in front of 17,469 at Comerica Park.
“As starters we all carry that pride and that chip on our shoulders and go out and eat as many innings as possible,” Siege said. “It’s good because (Tiger) won (Friday) in a good fashion, but I think we showed that we are still here.”
Siege threw 79 pitches and went out after giving Austin Meadows a single to start the sixth inning.
“You (Friday, 5-4 on Javier Baez’s game-winning hit In the ninth), pace is always the starting pitcher, and he was just excellent,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said of the struggle.
“He has a good club there and he was rock-solid. Commanding all his pitches, and he got back on it when it got a little out of sync, he started doing that midseason (in 2021) . A quick learner.”
Siege retired eight times in the first innings from the fifth straight to the final of the second innings. He had four straight strikeouts, three of which came in the fourth and one started in the fifth.
“I think what happens is that you have two shifts under your belt to feel your body, so it can be easier to get into the rhythm (afterward),” Siege said. “Hopefully I can start doing that from the very beginning (of the game).”
After Jonathan Shoup was dismissed to start the fifth, the next two batsmen walked the seam. He rebounded by dismissing Aqeel Baddu and bringing in Robbie Grossman in first place.
“Just take care of me and just keep doing what I can execute,” Siege said of being out fifth.
Siege stepped up for a rotation to deal with injuries to Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito. Additionally, Michael Kopech’s innings is being monitored early as he spins backward from the bullpen. Kopech will begin Sunday’s series finale.
“The way you build a year, every time your starter can go out the same way, now it’s up to other people,” La Russa said. “Michael will get his chance (Sunday), Dallas (Keshel) will get his chance.
“It was absolutely outstanding how Dylan pitched, like he was in spring training. He gives them so many different pitches to tackle.”
Like in Friday’s opener, the Sox moved up to first place with two out-hits by Alloy Jimenez. It was RBI single on Friday. It was a two-run single on Saturday.
Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer in the sixth made it 4-0.
But as of Friday, a Sox player was dismissed early due to injury. Giolito had a tight stomach on his left side after four innings on Friday. La Russa said an optimistic timeline would mean Giolito will miss two starts,
On Saturday, right-fielder AJ Pollock moved into the third innings with a tightness in his right hamstring. Pollock singled it toward the center, scored first and smiled as he headed back into the bag, briefly grabbing the back of his right foot.
“Honestly I thought it was definitely going to be a double,” Pollock said. “I felt like I hit the crap with the ball and I took a turn and it looked like he was going to bite it, and it was like that slump and I felt it and hit the brakes, came back and I definitely Felt a bit of a grab. And Tony came out and it looked like it was a wise move to get out of there.”
Pollock, who will go on paternity leave in the coming days, said the hamstring problem must be a “short-term” condition.
Andrew Vaughan replaced Pollock and there was an RBI single in the seventh to give the Sox a 5-2 lead. Josh Harrison – who went 2-for-4 with a triple and double – scored on Vaughan’s hit.
Reliever Bennett Sousa continued to impress early, dismissing one in a 1⅓ scoreless innings. Jose Ruiz inspired a double play to finish eighth.
With close Liam Hendrix unavailable after throwing 33 pitches on Friday, Aaron Bummer was called up for the save opportunity. The left-handed batsman was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an innings on Friday, surrendering successive singles to start the ninth. He cracked the next three to wrap up the team’s first win of 2022.
“I don’t really like the way every ball in the game is hit and every out is strikeout, but we’ll take it,” Boomer said. “Baseball, especially as a reliever, gets you punched a lot. It’s how you stand up and how you react to being punched in the mouth.
“I thought after today (Friday) it was a great day to come back and make some pitches and get things done.”