Victor Reyes and Harold Castro singled to begin the bottom of the fifth for the Detroit Tigers.
Chicago White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz went to the mound to have a discussion with starter Dylan Cease, who was looking to hold on to a three-run lead.
“He was just trying to slow me down, saying ‘hey, you execute your pitch right here, good things are going to happen,’ ” Cease said.
Cease executed and the good things followed for the right-hander. He struck out Willi Castro looking and induced Austin Meadows to hit a grounder to first, where José Abreu threw to second for a force. Javier Báez flied out to left fielder AJ Pollock as Cease escaped the jam without allowing a run.
Cease allowed one unearned run on seven hits in five innings, pitching the Sox to a 5-1 victory against the Tigers in front of 16,450 on Tuesday at Comerica Park. He struck out eight and walked one in the 108-pitch outing.
“I was able to compete and get through five,” Cease said. “Would have liked to have gone deeper to help the pen out a little bit more. It was good for the most part.”
Andrew Vaughn paced the offense, matching a career high with four hits. He also drove in a run and scored once as the Sox took their second straight in the series.
“It’s what we’re here to do, to get hits,” Vaughn said. “It’s tough to get hits in this league.”
Sox manager Tony La Russa was equally impressed with Vaughn’s walk in the eighth inning.
“He just doesn’t throw at-bats away,” La Russa said. “When you don’t throw at-bats away and you’re a hungry hitter looking for hits, those guys are very productive in this league.”
Vaughn’s RBI single in the second tied the game at 1. Luis Robert followed with an RBI, giving the Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Robert had two hits and scored once.
The RBI hits in the second came with two outs. The Sox had three two-out RBIs on Tuesday after collecting four two-out RBIs in Monday’s 9-5 victory.
“When we’re good, that’s one thing we do,” La Russa said. “We’ve had our share of giving up two-out RBIs. (All three Tuesday) were two-out, nobody on, right? That shows you you’ve got to play to three outs. State of mind as much as anything else.”
While the Sox came through in those clutch situations, Cease (5-3) made sure the Tigers didn’t. The only run came when, with the bases loaded in the first, he made a throwing error attempting to pick a runner off second.
The Tigers had runners on first and second with two outs in the second when Cease got Harold Castro to ground out to second.
“To get out of trouble a couple of times (Tuesday), obviously that’s the difference between winning and losing a lot of games,” Cease said. “I’m happy I gave us a shot.”
Cease’s only 1-2-3 inning came in the fourth, which featured two strikeouts. He exited after working out of trouble in the fifth.
La Russa said Cease showed “composure” as he navigated his way through the fifth.
“You could see him growing right before your eyes,” La Russa said. “He never looked like he was flustered. He knows his job was to make pitches and get out of that thing. That was serious pitching.
“He’s shown that to us so much.”
Cease improved to 10-0 in 11 career starts against the Tigers.
“It’s obviously great,” Cease said of the mark. “I try not to give it too much stock because I don’t want to jinx myself, but it’s something cool and something special, for sure. But there’s still more work to be done, so it’s not something that I’m going to coast on by any means.”