Eloy Jiménez ripped a liner to begin the fifth inning Thursday against the Detroit Tigers that looked destined for left field.
But third baseman Jeimer Candelario made a diving catch, robbing the Chicago White Sox left fielder of a hit.
The play kept Beau Brieske’s no-hitter intact.
The Sox would finally get their first hit an inning later when Josh Harrison singled to left leading off the sixth. But the Sox produced little else until a rally in the ninth inning fizzled in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers in front of 21,876 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“(Brieske) stayed out of the middle of the zone (and) got ahead of hitters,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “All the stuff good pitchers do. Hopefully the next time we see him we have a better chance. He pitched well.”
Brieske allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four in 6⅓ scoreless innings, silencing the Sox bats in the opener of a four-game series.
“He executed his off-speed pretty well,” Sox right fielder AJ Pollock said. “He gave me one pitch to hit, and I missed it. Sometimes that’s all you get. He executed his pitches well. Obviously we get a couple of things to fall, it might be a different ballgame. But we didn’t have that happen.”
The Sox trailed 2-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Tim Anderson singled with one out and Pollock walked. Luis Robert drove in Anderson with a double to right.
The tying run was on third base and the winning run on second, but Gregory Soto got out of the jam, striking out José Abreu and getting Eloy Jiménez to ground out to shortstop Javier Báez.
“It’s a tough ballgame,” Pollock said. “The numbers aren’t saying it’s a slam dunk to get that runner in no matter how good you are. Especially against the closer out there. We put ourselves in position to tie it up and it just didn’t work out.”
Dylan Cease took the loss, allowing one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in six innings.
“I thought I threw pretty good,” Cease said. “I would have liked to limit the walks, but sometimes it happens. It was pretty solid.”
Cease came into the outing 10-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 career starts against the Tigers.
“I thought he was really good,” La Russa said. “He worked out of tough jams, he finished strong. I thought he was outstanding. Didn’t deserve to be the losing pitcher.”
Báez, the former Cubs shortstop, was booed by the Sox fans but homered to left leading off the fourth for the game’s first run.
“It was not too bad,” Cease said of the pitch. “From what I remember, it seemed to be down and away.”
The Sox had one base runner, a one-out walk by Harrison in the third, before he singled to start the sixth. The Sox elected to bunt him to second, and Reese McGuire executed it well.
Anderson grounded out to Báez. He initially was ruled safe when first- base umpire Andy Fletcher said Kody Clemens didn’t stay on the bag. But the call was reversed after a replay review.
Harrison advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Pollock lined out to Báez to end the threat.
“At that time, how many hits did we have?” La Russa said when asked about deciding to bunt. “And you get him at second base and you’ve got (Anderson) and Pollock to tie the game. Yeah, I thought the smell of that game was low scoring, and both guys hit the ball hard, hard ground ball, line drive.
“We hit the ball hard enough to have gotten something, but not to take away from how well the guy pitched.”
The Tigers added a run in the ninth when pinch hitter Spencer Torkelson drove in Eric Haase with a two-out single against reliever Tanner Banks.
That became a big run as the Sox mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth that came up short. The team couldn’t build on Wednesday’s 9-8 10-inning win against the Minnesota Twins and is 39-42 at the midway point of the season.
“Honestly it’s hard to explain, it’s not really our job to explain,” Pollock said. “We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to fix stuff. We’ve got to put our good routines out there and keep working. You hope it turns.
“We had a good day (Wednesday) and it feels like a letdown (Thursday), but you’ve just got to keep working.”