DETROIT — Joshua Phegley’s sixth-inning grand slam gave Chris Sale some long-awaited run support, and Chicago went on to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 on Thursday in a game that included a bench-clearing altercation shortly after the White Sox took the lead.
Chicago trailed 3-1 when Phegley cleared the bases with a homer off Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez (7-6). Luke Putkonen came on and got one out before throwing a pitch behind Alexei Ramirez, who started toward the mound before being restrained.
Benches and bullpens emptied, but the situation didn’t really escalate.
Sale (6-8) allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings. Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera hit his 30th homer of the year, a solo shot in the fifth that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Prince Fielder was up next, and Sale threw a pitch high and inside to the Detroit slugger.
The White Sox rallied off Sanchez to take the lead, and then Putkonen’s pitch nearly hit Ramirez. Detroit manager Jim Leyland looked fired up during the brouhaha that followed, and he twice came back out to argue with umpires. The umps didn’t make any definitive signal, but it appeared both Putkonen and Leyland were ejected. Putkonen began walking off the field and was replaced by Al Alburquerque, and Leyland eventually disappeared from the dugout.
With the crowd booing, Ramirez hit a single to right field and then left the game himself because of cramping in his right leg.
Sale was 0-6 in his previous seven starts despite a 3.10 ERA over that span. It looked like he’d be left with poor run support again before the White Sox broke through against Sanchez.
Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson couldn’t come up with Jeff Keppinger’s sinking liner and was charged with an error. After a walk and a strikeout, Gordon Beckham singled and the 25-year-old Phegley followed with a grand slam in his 18th major league at-bat.
Phegley is 4 for 20 now — with three homers.
Sale allowed 10 hits, walked two and struck out eight. He left in the seventh after allowing a double by Torii Hunter, and Matt Lindstrom came on and got Cabrera on a flyout.
Alejandro De Aza made it 6-3 with a homer in the eighth off Phil Coke. De Aza also hit a single and a double.
Ramirez opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double, but Matt Tuiasosopo put the Tigers ahead with a two-run homer in the second. Sale got out of a jam in the third when Fielder hit into an inning-ending double play with men on first and third.
Chicago left fielder Dayan Viciedo threw Detroit’s Victor Martinez out at the plate to end the fourth.
Cabrera’s solo shot increased his RBI total to 94. He’s the first player to reach 30 homers and 90 RBIs before the All-Star break, according to STATS. A pair of Cincinnati Reds — Tony Perez in 1970 and George Foster in 1977 — made it to 29 and 90.
Matt Thornton pitched a perfect eighth for Chicago before giving way to Reed.
NOTES: Martinez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a three-hit day. ... Chicago RHP Jake Peavy (fractured left rib) is scheduled for a rehab game Sunday with Double-A Birmingham at Huntsville. ... Detroit hosts Texas on Friday night, with RHP Doug Fister (6-5) taking the mound against RHP Justin Grimm (7-6) of the Rangers. The White Sox play at Philadelphia. Chicago LHP John Danks (2-5) takes on Philadelphia RHP Jonathan Pettibone (5-3).