With eight games left in the regular season, the Tigers are back in a first place tie with the Chicago White Sox. After the White Sox failed to homer their way to a win in a matinee against the Indians, Anibal Sanchez pitched the Tigers into a share of first with a three-hit, complete-game shutout of the Royals on Tuesday night. Titillating stuff!
Entering his last start, Sanchez had a 1.89 ERA over his previous five starts with 22 strikeouts and just three walks in 33-plus innings. He kind of dropped the ‘bal’ in Anibal in his last start against the A’s, though, allowing five earned runs in 5-plus innings (although two came after he got pulled) en route to a 12-4 loss and leaving many fans with a sour taste in their mouths — like, Sanchez isn’t quite Jarrod Washburn, but he’s also not quite Doug Fister in a pennant race and that’s not quite good enough, or so.
Sanchez responded by putting on a pitching clinic Tuesday night. One trip through the Royals’ order, it looked like Sanchez might have had something *extra* dirty going, similar to how he had a no hitter heading into the 7th inning 10 days before. That notion ended in the 4th inning when a pair of singles followed up a pair of strikeouts, but Sanchez would go on to allow just two more base runners the rest of the game (both in the 6th) and close out his own gem with 10 Ks and without any rise in blood pressure from the irregular heart Valve.
The Tigers scored all they would need in the 1st inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. 10 other runners were stranded, but it didn’t really matter. Sanchez didn’t need any other help from the bats and that became clear early.
Sanchez did need help from his most valuable third baseman Migue Cabrera, though. Cabrera saved one, maybe two, runs in the 4th inning by making a jumping grab of a screaming line drive. Sanchez’s only other scare came in the 6th inning when he put two runners on, but he got out of it by striking out Billy Butler to retire the side.
Sanchez. Alejandro. Anibal.
WALK OFF BULLETS:
- At 6-foot-4, Cabrera is the tallest third baseman in baseball and still needed to jump and reach as high as he possibly could to snow cone that liner in the 4th. I don’t care what you say, but that’s as good as robbing a home run, if not better. I’m convinced nobody else makes that catch and saves those runs.
- Also, Cabrera flew out again to a part of the field that is a HR in most parks, including Angels Stadium. But nope, “Comerica plays slightly like a hitter’s park,” so Cabrera’s value gets docked for that, however slightly.
- Box Score
- Porcello and Guthrie/Santiago and Masterson Wednesday night.