On a night in which they notched 11 hits, six of them for extra bases, the Detroit Tigers won their sixth game in a row, beating the Texas Rangers 8-6 in Arlington on Wednesday night. The Tigers, coupled with yet another loss by the Kansas City Royals, have opened up a nice four-game lead in the American League Central.
Texas starter Joe Saunders was no match for the resurgent Tigers’ bats as they got off to a quick start one batter into the game when Rajai Davis knocked one to deep center field for a sure double, but Davis’ speed stretched it to a triple. Ian Kinsler walked and Miguel Cabrera launched a long fly ball out to deep right, which scored Davis.
Then the red-hot “Super Martinez Brothers” each doubled, bringing home a run a piece. Doubles were plentiful for Detroit on the evening as Kinsler and Cabrera took turns notching doubles in the fourth inning, and Torii Hunter, in his first game back after seven days off with hamstring issues, singled.
The Tigers led 5-0 heading into the fifth. Though Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez was sharp early, he started faltering a bit in the Texas heat and humidity and faced a long inning in which he threw 30+ pitches and allowed three runs. All told, Anibal went 5 1/3 inning, allowing four runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez answered back the following inning. In the “anything you can do I can do better” game, the dynamic duo hit back-to-back solo homers to push the Tigers’ cushion back to four runs at 7-3.
Texas clawed back, with ex-Tiger Carlos Pena hitting a homer to pull it to 7-4 in the sixth inning. Blaine Hardy and Al Alburquerque teamed up to allow some base traffic in the top of the seventh and let the Rangers pull even closer, at 7-5. But Phil Coke came in to shut the door and record the final out. Yep, Phil Coke–still getting used to talking positive about Coke.
As they did all night long when Texas got closer, Detroit would pad their lead by a run in the very next inning. A Eugenio Suarez double off the wall in left field brought home Nick Castellanos, who had singled, but Dave Clark waived around Bryan Holaday, who reached on a walk, and he was out by a mile.
The teams will meet again to close the regular season series between the combatants of the 2011 AL Championship series with the Tigers looking for the sweep. Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) looks to notch his 10th win of the season and build off two straight solid outings as he goes up against Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.22). This duo met up back in late May at Comerica Park and the result was a lopsided 12-2 loss for Detroit. So you can expect Rick to come to the park tomorrow ready to pitch.
Barring rain, first pitch is set for 8:05 p.m.