Anibal Sanchez‘s first few starts with his new ballclub were rather rocky. He’s since settled down and has had some good numbers to reflect that.
Today, he was rather filthy. And in the end, he almost flirted with history.
The Detroit Tigers today beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3, keeping pace with the Chicago White Sox (still 1 game behind), who won earlier in the day. Sanchez threw 6 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball, until that run was broken by a Carlos Santana triple with 2 outs in the 7th inning. Ultimately, he would give up 2 runs on just 3 hits, striking out 7 and walking nobody.
Sanchez has come around since the Tigers acquired him from the Marlins. In 3 of his first 4 starts with the Tigers, he had given up at least 5 runs in those starts, including a 7 run outing vs the Yankees. Since August 22, he’s given up no more than 3 runs an outing while pitching no less than 6 2/3 innings of work. His K/BB ratio is a cool 22/3, but his record in these last 5 starts is only 2-3, including today’s win. Good numbers, awful run support.
Today, that wasn’t nearly the issue.
Tigers struck first with 2 runs in the first, aided by a Lonnie Chisenhall error, which allowed Andy Dirks to score the first run of the game. Alex Avila followed by driving in Fielder with the 1st of his 3 hits on the day. Austin Jackson drove in the Tigers 3rd run on a sacrifice fly to right center, that scored Quintin Berry in the 4th inning. Alex Avila doubled in Brennan Boesch in the next inning, and Miguel Cabrera added a solo home run in the 7th to close out the Tigers scoring. It was Miggy’s 37th homer of the season.
Sanchez, staked with that 5-0 lead was rather brilliant, but ultimately he gave up that triple to Santana, breaking up his no-hitter, and Russ Canzler followed that with an RBI-double to make it a 5-1 game. Chisenhall would then single in Canzler, and spell the end of Anibal’s day. Phil Coke replaced him and struck out pinch hitter Matt LaPorta to end the inning.
Joaquin Benoit came into the 8th inning tonight, gave up a run (Asdrubal Cabrera RBI-single) on 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Jose Valverde posted a rather ordinary 1-2-3 9th inning to close out the game and recorded his 31st save of the season.
As for the bizarre: Back in the top of the 5th inning, Quintin Berry hit a not-so-routine ground ball into the hole at shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera, having the sense that he wasn’t going to throw out Berry at 1st base, tried to get out number 3 by throwing to 3rd base to get Alex Avila instead… but Lonnie Chisenhall wasn’t there to make the play.
Avila had slid into third… or so we thought, and hopped up and scored on the wild throw, which made the score 5-0…. initially. Berry had gone to second base during this whole commotion.
Here’s where it gets weird.
Berry took off for third base, seemingly attempting to steal on Tony Sipp (who was relieving starter Justin Masterson) when “time was still being called”, and was ordered back to second base. Sipp toed the rubber, only to have Berry take off again, and essentially give himself up… and his rather pristine stolen base mark for the season (he’s currently 19 for 19).
Turns out, those throws to third base by Sipp were ultimately appeals, since the Indians thought that Alex Avila missed the bag after Cabrera threw the ball away. Berry was merely being used as a decoy to hopefully record a different out, and hopefully canceling out the appeal.
In the end, replays showed that Avila did in fact, miss the bag – sliding towards it, hopping up and running to home without tagging it – and the score was changed back to 4-0. Also, Berry’s “attempt” at a stolen base wasn’t going to be classified as an attempt, since the throw to third wasn’t intended for him, it was for the appeal.
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