CHICAGO — The way Miguel Gonzalez was pitching in his last five starts, a no-hitter seemed unlikely.
The right-hander sported a 6.99 ERA during a career-worst, five-game losing streak.
Yet Gonzalez took a perfect game into the seventh inning before he allowed three hits and a run in the inning in the Chicago White Sox’s 7-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
“Strike one from the get-go, getting ahead, especially against this team that’s aggressive,” Gonzalez said. “It was fun to be out there again and get back on track.”
The perfect game ended when leadoff hitter Andrew Romine reached on a hard grounder to shortstop Tim Anderson that was initially ruled an error. The call was later changed to a hit.
Miguel González was brilliant today, setting down the first 18 batters he faced! pic.twitter.com/hcmLtrPCTy
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 28, 2017
“I kind of didn’t pick it up until it hit the ground,” Anderson said. “I would have definitely taken the error for that one. It was a tough play, and I didn’t make the play.”
Alex Avila followed with a single to right-center field before Miguel Cabrera also singled to right center to end the shutout.
Gonzalez (4-5) struck out six and allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. He kept his perfect-hit bid alive despite a 30-minute rain delay in the fourth inning.
“He was focused; I saw him earlier today, everything about him, his demeanor,” White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. “That’s the Miguel Gonzalez we know and love.”
Gonzalez struggled in his last five starts after he began the season 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts. However, he was 6-3 with a 3.17 ERA in his previous 10 home starts.
“I started off really good,” Gonzalez said. “I was struggling for a couple outings and all you can do is keep working hard and things are going to happen. If you work hard in between your starts, you have a pretty good chance of getting back on track, and that’s how I felt today.”
Gonzalez retired the game’s first 18 batters for the White Sox’s longest perfect-game bid since Chris Sale set down the first 19 batters against the Los Angeles Angels on May 12, 2013, according to STATS, LLC.
“He mixed pitches very well, he had good movement,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He threw all four pitches. He kept the ball down in the zone, got some ground balls. He had his location — he’s a location-style pitcher. Combined that with the fact we’re not swinging the bats as well as we normally can, that’s kind of what happens.”
Gonzalez said the closest he has come to throwing a no-hitter was losing one in the ninth in a Mexican League game.
“I was just trying to stay focused and concentrate on each hitter,” he said. “Every time I was out there, first pitch trying to throw for a strike and things worked out. (Catcher Omar) Narvaez did a really good job back there calling the game, and our offense was fantastic.”
Melky Cabrera, Matt Davidson and Todd Frazier homered for the White Sox, who won three of the series’ four games.
David Robertson got the final two outs with two on for his seventh save in eight opportunities.
Willy Garcia hit an RBI triple and scored on Jose Iglesias’ throwing error to put the White Sox ahead in the third. Melky Cabrera followed with his fifth home run of the season.
After the rain delay in the top of the fourth, the White Sox added two runs in the bottom of the inning. Davidson hit his 10th home run, and Yolmer Sanchez doubled and scored on Narvaez’s single to extend the lead to 5-0.
Frazier added a two-run homer in the fifth.
Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann (4-4) allowed seven runs and eight hits, struck out three and walked one in five innings. He has given up 16 home runs this year.
“We need him to pitch better,” Ausmus said.
Alex Presley hit an RBI double and Romine had an RBI triple in the eighth to prompt Gonzalez’s exit.
The Tigers are 2-6 on their road trip.
“Between Houston and here, there were a few games this road trip where we just couldn’t getting anything going,” Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. “A lot of guys just kind of in a funk right now all at the same time, so runs have been at a premium.
“It’s unfortunate it’s coming on the road on a road trip where we’ve had some crazy weather and some crazy scheduling, it just kind of adds to the frustration, but … it’s part of the game.”
NOTES: The Tigers designated OF Tyler Collins for assignment to make room for OF Alex Presley from Triple-A Toledo before the game. Collins hit .200 with 46 strikeouts in 146 plate appearances. … The Tigers purchased the contract of Presley, who hit .213 with two home runs in 40 games with Toledo. He started in center field and went 1-for-3 with an RBI. … The Tigers also returned RHP Buck Farmer to Triple-A after he was the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader. … Detroit RHP Arcenio Leon threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his major league debut. … The Tigers’ Mikie Mahtook took over for J.D. Martinez (sore foot) in right field in the sixth inning. … The White Sox announced LHP David Holmberg (0-0, 0.87 ERA) will start Monday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox and LHP David Price. … Detroit LHP Daniel Norris will pitch Monday in Kansas City against Royals RHP Jason Hammel.