Anibal Sánchez wasn’t his at his best, but he was still good enough as he helped the Tigers defeat the Royals, 2-1, on Friday night. Sánchez gave up at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched, and the Royals had at least one baserunner in every inning, but Sánchez and co. were able to limit the damage and hold Kansas City to just one run.
Sánchez scattered eight hits over seven innings, walked none, and struck out three. He gave up the one run in the first, and then nothing more.
The Royals did threaten in the eighth against Joba Chamberlain, and looked to have the tying run on third with nobody out, but Lorenzo Cain was called out on batter interference and Aoki, who’d advanced to third on Bryan Holaday’s attempted caught stealing, was sent back to first. That call changed the outlook of the whole inning, as the Royals’ subsequent hitter, Eric Hosmer, singled to put two on with one out. The Royals were unable to cash in as Salvador Pérez and Billy Butler both flied out to end the threat.
More after the jump!
Joe Nathan then came in for the save in the ninth and struggled to throw his fastball for strikes. Nathan got the first batter to ground out, then gave a single to Omar Infante. Infante stole second and Jarrod Dyson then walked to bring out Alcides Escobar. Escobar struck out swinging, and then Aoki grounded out to end the game and hand the Tigers the 2-1 victory.
The Tigers have now opened up a 6.5 game lead over Kansas City in the central. Since June 17th, when the Tigers fell behind the Royals by a half game, the Royals have gone 9-13 while the Tigers have gone 16-6 and all but rebuilt their once-lofty division lead. They led the second place team by as many as 7 games on May 19th, their largest lead thus far.
Brad Ausmus left the game in the second inning due to “flu like symptoms.” Gene Lamont managed the team from the second inning on, via Chris Iott. Remarkably, no one noticed!
Rick Porcello (11-5, 1.6 WAR) goes for the Tigers tomorrow against James Shields (9-4, 1.7 WAR).
Because of MLB blackout rules, the game won’t be shown on FSD until 10PM on a tape delay. It’ll also be replayed later in its entirety. Follow along instead on 97.1 with Dan Dickerson and Jim Price!