Saltalamacchia’s homer off Nate Jones dooms White Sox

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Detroit Tigers’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia points as he rounds the bases after his two-run homerun during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Detroit. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 4-3. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT – Everything was shaping up nicely for an upbeat start to a seven-game road trip for the White Sox Monday night.

That was, until Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped up against Nate Jones in the eighth inning.

The Tigers catcher lifted a two-run homer into the right-center field seats at Comerica Park after Jones (5-3) walked J.D. Martinez to open the inning, sending the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 victory.

The blast ruined James Shields’ first quality start in August and Tyler Saladino’s three-RBI night which included a tiebreaking solo homer against Alex Wilson in the seventh.

It was a sour start for the beginning of a 21-game stretch of games against the AL Central for the Sox (63-67), who are 20-30 including 27 losses in the last 38 division contests.

Saladino drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out single against Tigers left-hander Matt Boyd in the fourth. The Tigers (70-61) tied it on Justin Upton’s homer in the sixth, the 12th allowed by Shields in August.

Making his last start of the month, Shields entered with an 0-4 record and 13.95 ERA in five August starts. He had been tagged for 40 hits over 20 innings. Against the Tigers, he allowed two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six.

“James was bobbing and weaving,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “There was traffic out there but he made really big pitches with guys on base.’’

Jones was making his third relief appearance in has many days and fourth in the last five.

“Nate has been as consistent as anybody,’’ Ventura said. “It’s a tough one, especially when you know he has his stuff.’’

The Sox were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Todd Frazier (0-for-4) made the third out three times, leaving runners stranded in scoreless innings each time, and Jose Abreu (2-for-4), while reaching base for the 25th straight game – the longest streak of his career and longest active streak in baseball – struck out and hit into a double play in situations with two runners on.

“It was a game with opportunities we didn’t cash in on,’’ Ventura said.

Shields was better, and vowed to build off the start and finish strong in September.

“He was a bulldog out there today,” Sox catcher Alex Avila, a former Tiger, said.

“Maybe some luck on my side, I don’t know,’’ he said. “I’ve been pounding the strike zone pretty good, especially in my last outing and I let up four runs. Sometimes it goes your way or it doesn’t.’’

After Shields completed his six innings on 100 pitches, Ventura used Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings and Chris Beck to get one out apiece in the seventh before Jones took over in the eighth.

Lawrie update

As August – a month Brett Lawrie has missed in its entirety – rolls into September, the possibility the Sox second baseman won’t play the rest of the season becomes more real.

Lawrie hasn’t played since July 21 when he went on the disabled list with what was called a hamstring strain. Since then the Sox have mentioned Lawrie’s knee, calf, quad and hip as problem areas.

“They’re still checking him out,’’ Ventura said. “He just senses something doesn’t feel right. You can understand that as a player, or a guy who has played before, in that he knows what he’s supposed to feel like when he’s out there. Guys play with pain and play with discomfort, but this is a little bit more than the norm, I guess.’’

Lawrie is at the Sox training complex in Glendale, Ariz., Ventura said.

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