In the midst of a 9-19 stretch and a possible series sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers division rival, the Kansas City Royals, Anibal Sanchez did exactly what any top of the line starter would do with his team needing a win.
Behind seven innings of one run baseball from Sanchez, the Tigers (37-32) escaped with a 2-1 victory at Comerica Park. Thursday’s game was the makeup game from back on April 3. Detroit snapped its three-game losing streak and currently sit a half game out of first in the American League Central, behind the Royals (39-33).
In Sanchez’s seven innings of work, Kansas City was only able to spray five hits and score one run on the right-hander. Sanchez also only walked one batter all afternoon, using his whole arsenal of pitches across the entire strike zone. Sanchez’s ERA has now dropped to 2.33, leading the Tigers’ starting rotation.
J.D. Martinez continued his scorching hot pace, going 1-for-3 with a home run in fourth inning to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Martinez’s average is getting close to the .300 mark (.290), and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus hasn’t been able to keep the left fielder out of the lineup. In the Kansas City series alone, Martinez went 7-for-13, including three homers at Comerica Park.
The Tigers only mustered four hits all afternoon, while Royals starter Danny Duffy stifled Tiger hitters all game. Miguel Cabrera picked up the other clutch hit in the fourth inning, when he a rocket off the center field wall for a double, that plated Austin Jackson, who also picked up one of the Tigers’ four hits.
Duffy was nearly untouchable all day against the home team, allowing just two runs off three hits while striking out five Tigers. The 25-year-old lefty now owns a 2.80 ERA after struggles early in the season.
The Tigers will now travel to Cleveland to take on the third-place Indians (36-36). The three-game series will begin on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Rick Porcello (8-4, 4.03 ERA) is the probable starter for Detroit, and he will face Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35 ERA) in the matchup of a couple of right-handers. Detroit looks to carry Thursday’s momentum into the fifth division series in a row, followed by a trip to Texas before returning home for the end of June.