Fresh off the disabled list, Detroit's third baseman hit a go-ahead RBI bloop single during a three-run eighth inning, helping the Tigers rally for a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Candelario, who was 0 for 3 entering his final at-bat, dropped in what initially looked like a routine popup over first baseman Jose Abreu's back shoulder, allowing Nicholas Castellanos to score from third and giving the Tigers their first lead of the night.
"I had him backwards and it's not easy (to make a catch) going back that way," Candelario said of Abreu. "It's amazing to help your team win. It's always fun, it's always great to come back and help."
Castellanos hesitated at third base with only one out, but still scored without a throw.
"I guess they misplayed it or whatever," said Castellanos, who finished 3 for 4 with two doubles. "I was able to get in. It's a crazy game."
White Sox manager Rick Renteria didn't fault his first baseman on the play.
"Abreu is usually really, really good on those flyballs, even the ones that go behind him," Renteria said. "He seemed to get turned around quite a bit."
Former Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon (2-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits in the eighth. Starter Reynaldo Lopez pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three.
"I thought Bruce's velocity was good," Renteria said. "A disappointing loss, obviously. Especially with the outing that Lopez had."
Tigers reliever Buck Farmer (1-3) pitched a scoreless eighth inning and got the win. Shane Greene retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save.
Starter Mike Fiers went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out four.
"The whole bullpen came in and did their job," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Fiers threw a lot of pitches. He got as deep as we thought he could. The bullpen came in and did a really nice job, got some big outs."
The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI hits by Abreu and Tim Anderson. Trayce Thompson's RBI single in the fourth made it 3-0, and following a pair of Tigers runs in the fourth, Anderson's solo home run in the fifth extended the lead to 4-2.
Leonys Martin's RBI single in the eighth made it 4-3 and Castellanos followed with an RBI double, advancing to third on the throw home. Martin's slide at home was reviewed and the call stood.
Castellanos, who normally hits third in the Tigers' lineup, had a big night as the No. 2 batter against the White Sox. Candelario hit third.
"I called Nick into my office, and I talked to him about it somewhere on the road trip," Gardenhire said of changing the lineup. "We decided to try it. He enjoys it there."
Castellanos also had a couple nice plays in right field, going into the stands to catch a foul ball by Adam Engel in the sixth. After the play, Castellanos slapped five with a Tigers fan in the front row.
"He really made some nice plays out there," Gardenhire said.
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon took a line drive to the head in Thursday's rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte, leaving the game in the third inning. He showed no signs of a concussion and was treated for a head laceration.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera (right hamstring strain) took batting practice and ran in the outfield before Friday's game, saying he could return "soon" from the disabled list. He's been out since May 4. ... Candelario (left wrist tendinitis) went 1 for 4. OF Mikie Mahtook was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to open a roster spot. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann (right shoulder) continues making progress in his rehab and could return in the near future, Gardenhire said.
White Sox: LHP Hector Santiago (0-2, 5.17 ERA) is expected to start Saturday's game against the Tigers.
Tigers: LHP Francisco Liriano (3-1, 3.42) is scheduled to face Santiago. Liriano took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start.