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A rare Hicks-up for White Sox bullpen: Colome blows lead, Tigers gain split

The White Sox almost got through an entire season as the only team with a perfect record when leading entering the ninth inning,

Detroit Tigers’ Travis Demeritte (50) congratulates John Hicks (55) on his three-run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the ninth inning of game two of a baseball doubleheader, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Chicago. (AP)
AP Photos

The White Sox almost made it.

They almost got through an entire season as the only team with a perfect record when leading entering the ninth inning, but pinch hitter John Hicks ruined that on the second to last day of the season Saturday with a three-run homer against closer Alex Colome.

Hicks’ 403-foot blast inside the left-field foul pole on a breaking pitch Colome wanted to bury in the dirt but hung in the strike zone lifted the Tigers to a 4-3 victory and doubleheader split at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox (71-89) entered the team’s 160th game Saturday with a 59-0 record when leading entering the ninth inning. But the Tigers (47-113), the worst team in baseball, got an inning started on shortstop Tim Anderson’s throwing error on Ronny Rodriguez’ ground ball in the hole and a single by Travis Demeritte. It was Anderson’s major league leading 26th error.

Yoan Moncada’s pinch solo homer against Buck Farmer, his 25th long ball of the season, cut the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

It was only the third blown save in 33 opportunities for Colome.

“I missed it and it goes the other way,” said Colome, who blew his first save at home. “Just a mistake.”

Ivan Nova pitched five-plus innings of one-run ball in what was likely his final start for the Sox. Nova posted a 4.72 ERA over a team-high 34 starts and 187 innings.

Batting title watch

Tim Anderson sat out Game 1 then saw his 13-game hitting streak end in Game 2, going 0-for-2 to drop his AL leading average to .337. But the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu couldn’t close the gap, dropping to .329 after going hitless in three at-bats against the Rangers Saturday night.

Goal for 2020: Get on more

The Sox are 22nd in the majors with a .317 on-base percentage, an area general manager Rick Hahn is “something we need to improve upon. It’s been a priority.”

Anderson walked for only the 14th and 15th times Saturday but won’t be told to walk more leading the majors in average.

“But you want to make sure everyone is swinging at pitches they can do damage on and not necessarily expanding beyond what they’re capable of doing,” Hahn said.

Cease’s hamstring

Dylan Cease suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain warming up before his scheduled start Wednesday. Hahn called Cease’s half a season “strong, positive” despite a 5.79 ERA.

“He’s still young, he’s still going to have some growing pains next year but certainly pleased with what he did this year,” Hahn said.

Cease pitched to a 3.00 ERA in four starts in September but averaged only five innings in those outings.

End of an era

Game 2 marked the final broadcast of White Sox baseball on WGN-TV, which broadcast Sox games from 1948-67, 1981 and 1990-2019. The first Sox game televised by WGN was an exhibition vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 16, 1948. NBC Sports Chicago will be the Sox’ exclusive TV home next season.

This and that

Ross Detwiler will start Sunday on three days rest in what will amount to a bullpen day in the season finale.

*Zack Collins drove in two runs with a single to center and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, batting .364 in that stretch after a 4-for-49 start.