Detroit Tigers fall to Tampa Bay Rays, 11-5
By Dave Holcomb
As the question marks continue to mount for the Detroit Tigers pitching staff with guys such as Justin Verlander and Bruce Rondon hitting the disabled list, it would be nice to see pitchers currently healthy heading into the season on a roll.
That won’t be the case for Anibal Sanchez or Al Alburquerque at least, as the duo gave up all 11 runs to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday as the Tigers lost to the Rays, 11-5, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.
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Sanchez yielded four runs in the first inning, all on one swing as Rays center fielder Brandon Guyer hit a grand slam. Tampa Bay tagged Sanchez for three hits in the frame, and Sanchez walked two batters as well. To make matters worse, he also had a throwing error on a pickoff at first base, but all the runs on the grand slam were still earned.
The right-hander allowed two more hits and another run in the second inning. Rays designated hitter Kevin Kiermaier hit a triple to center fielder which scored shortstop Jake Elmore.
Sanchez settled down from there, but the damage was already done. He was charged with five runs on five hits, struck out five and walked two along with the fielding error in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
The Tigers offense, though, brought Detroit within a run by the bottom of the fifth, and the game remained, 6-5, until the Rays scored six more runs in the eighth.
Those six runs in the eighth were all charged to relief pitcher Al Alburquerque, who faced eight batters and only got one out. He allowed five hits and walked two with the only out being a sacrifice fly.
On a positive note, Joakim Soria continued his strong Spring Training, throwing a perfect inning and 1/3. Joe Nathan came into the middle of the seventh to record one out, which was a strikeout. Nathan did walk a batter, but it has to be encouraging to see him come into the middle of an inning and have some success.
The offense was also very good in the first five innings, scoring a pair of runs in the first and fifth and a lone run in the third. Miguel Cabrera hit his third home run of the spring and had another RBI on a double in the third. Cabrera was 2-for-2 with three RBI and a run.
Ian Kinsler also had an RBI-double in the fifth. He went 3-for-3 with the RBI and run, which he scored on Cabrera’s homer. Kinsler raised his Spring Training batting average to .415.
Pinch hitter Alex Avila had the only other RBI on a double in the fifth. The rest of the Tigers lineup, however, besides Cabrera, Kinsler and Avila were 3-for-28.
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