Anibal Sanchez gave up two runs in the second to put the Tigers in an early hole. He dominated from that point on, retiring 16 of the last 18 Rangers he faced. Sanchez earned his second win of 2014, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out five.
The Tigers had plenty of experience facing Rangers' losing pitcher Scott Baker due to his time in the Twins' rotation. They made the most of it, knocking Baker around for six runs in six innings of work, serving up eight hits (two home runs) and walking two, striking out only one.
The top of the Tigers' batting order did the vast amount of damage against the Rangers. Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler led the way by combing on a 5-for-8, four runs scored, one RBI night. Kinsler beat up his old team with three doubles, an RBI and three runs scored.
Austin Jackson and Andrew Romine had been battling long slumps, badly scuffling at the plate. Both snapped out of their funks with home runs, Romine's the first of his career. Torii Hunter chipped in a pair of RBI ground outs.
All of the Rangers' offense took place within a three at-bat stretch in the second. Back-to-back-to-back hits were capped off by Mitch Moreland's two RBI double. But that would be it for Texas, only able to scratch out four singles over the remaining seven innings.
The Tigers get back on track with the win, raising their record to an MLB best 28-16, .636.
OK. Deep breath ... Everyone exhale!
The Tigers ran themselves out of any shot of a threat in the first. After a lead off single, Rajai Davis was caught far off the first base bag. A snap throw from Rangers' catcher Robinson Chirinos had Davis dead to rights.
Anibal Sanchez joined the Tigers rotation's recent knack for putting the team in an early hole. Before a batter was retired, the Rangers were up 2-0 in the second. Adrian Beltre singled, racing to third on Alex Rios' bloop double to short right. Both would come around to score when Mitch Moreland laced a double over the head of Austin Jackson in deep right center.
Sanchez would strand Moreland by setting down the next three Rangers, but the Tigers were again playing from behind, down 2-0.
It only took one swing of Jackson's bat to even the score.
Bottom of the second and Victor Martinez on base via a walk, Jackson strode to the plate with a May OPS of .521, 400 points lower than what he posted in April. He shook off a 3-for-33 slump by crushing Scott Baker's low-80s breaking ball, sending it well over the bullpens in left. The no-doubt two run shot was Jackson's third home run of the season, knotting the game at 2-all (MLB.com video).
The inning was extended when Nick Castellanos singled and Andrew Romine reached base for the first time since May 11 on Elvis Andrus' fielding error. Andrus did his damnedest to extend Baker further when his throw to first was in the dirt, Moreland making a nice pick to end the threat.
Sanchez bounced back from a rocky second to retire the side in order, including two via strikeouts.
Ian Kinsler continued to make the trade of Prince Fielder look completely lopsided by leading off the bottom of the third with a two base hit. Miguel Cabrera sent him home by slashing a double into the right field corner, giving the Tigers the lead at 3-2 (MLB.com video). It was Cabrera's 42nd RBI, tying him with Jose Abreu and Nelson Cruz for the AL lead.
Sanchez then settled in, pitching the way we've come to expect a Tigers' rotation member to pitch. Extremely effectively. After the Moreland double, Sanchez retired the next 11-of-12 Rangers he faced. The only Ranger to reach base was Rios, who singled in the 4th. He was summarily eliminated by Alex Avila, who gunned him down trying to steal second.
The Tigers increased their lead to 4-2 in the fifth on back-to-back hits off the bats of Davis and Kinsler. Davis led off with a high chopper to left, circling the bases when Kinsler lined an RBI double into the left field corner.
Ron Washington elected to pick his poison, telling Baker to intentionally walk Cabrera in order to face Martinez.
Ron Washington is the best when he’s not your manager— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 24, 2014
Washington's strange strategy somehow worked ... well, kinda. Martinez hit the ball on the freaking screws, but right at Rios in right. Kinsler tagged up, advancing to third. He would score when Hunter beat out a possible double play ball, the Tigers pushing their lead to 5-2.
Sanchez was now in beast mode, 14-of-15 Rangers had taken a seat after his 1-2-3 sixth. With a pitch count at 79, Sanchez was in line to gave the bullpen a much needed break.
Bottom of six, Romine snapped an 0-for-22 skid in the best way possible. He yanked a Baker's 88 MPH meatball to right, his line drive hitting the foul pole. It was Romine's first hit in almost two weeks, the first home run of his career extending the Tigers' lead to 6-2 (MLB.com video).
Sanchez was pulled by Brad Ausmus once set the side down in order in the seventh, wrapping up the best start by a rotation member since Rick Porcello's eight innings on Sunday. Seven innings, five hits, two runs, and best of all, no need for long relief.
The sixth would be the final inning of work for Baker, Alexi Ogando taking over for the seventh.
After stabbing the Rangers twice, Kinsler twisted the knife by leading off the bottom half of the seventh with his third double in as many at-bats. He proceeded to manufacture a run. Kinsler gave the Tigers a 7-2 advantage by taking third on a fly ball and scoring on Hunter's chopper to third.
Martinez on second after Washington scratched his intentional walk itch earlier in the inning, he tried to score on Jackson's infield single. Rougned Odor knocked down Jackson's ground ball to the right side, then nailed Martinez at the plate. Martinez, knowing it was futile endeavor, pulled up for the inevitable tag when he was the ball waiting for him at the plate.
There would be no bullpen dramatics tonight. Al Alburquerque replaced Sanchez, striking out two in a scoreless eighth.
There was an eighth inning Corey Knebel sighting, warming up in the bullpen.
Corey Knebel warming up, presumably set to make his major league debut. We’re excited.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 24, 2014
But Ian Krol was on the mound to start the ninth.
Now this game feels like a loss. RT @matthewbmowery: Krol's coming out for the ninth. Sorry to disappoint.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 24, 2014
Krol got off to a rocky start, walking Andrus and allowing a single to Shin-Soo Choo. Jeff Jones took a mound visit, and that was it for the Rangers.
Krol struck out Beltre, then took part in a beautifully turned 3-6-1 double play to end the game.
Your final score is Tigers 7, Rangers 2. The four game losing streak is history, and the baseball world is back to spinning on it's axis.
Tigers win! The streak is over and everyone can keep talking about the World Series now— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 24, 2014
Saturday's nationally televised matchup features Rangers' right-handed swingman Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.28 ERA) taking on Rick Porcello (7-1, 2.91 ERA).
Martinez is a rookie who made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues. Due to the numeorus injuries suffered by the Rangers' rotation, three of his eight appearances have been starting assignments. As a starter, Martinez has a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings.
Porcello will be pitching on six days rest, his start pushed to Saturday due to lingering soreness in his left side. His last game was a beauty, shutting down the Red Sox on ESPN, winning his sixth straight game by allowing just six hits and one run in eight innings.
Due to the game being broadcast on Fox Sports 1, Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Detroit Lions' wide receiver Golden Tate threw out the fist pitch and took batting practice before tonight's game. His showed some skills, clearing the wall in right field. Of course, the question now becomes, can Tate play shortstop?
Lesson learned by Miguel Cabrera: Never touch Adrian Beltre's head.
STREAKS AND STATS:
Andrew Romine (0-for-20) isn't the only Tiger in a nasty slump. Entering tonight's game, Austin Jackson was 3-for-33 in his last nine games.. Both snapped out of long funks with home runs. Romine's homer was the first of his MLB career, coming on his 236th at-bat.
Ian Kinsler extended his hitting streak to nine games with a second inning double.
His fifth inning double gave Kinsler an AL leading 20 multi-hit games.
Even more Kinsler! He became the first Tigers player to have three doubles in a game since Austin Jackson on August 9, 2013 versus the Yankees.
Thanks to his third inning double, Miguel Cabrera is now tied with Billy Rogell for 19th in franchise history with 1,210 hits.
Ian Kinsler: The veteran second baseman is getting his revenge on the Rangers in the best way possible; by performing like the player he was for most of his Texas tenure. Three doubles raised Kinsler's numbers to an excellent .326/.358/.481.
Anibal Sanchez: The majority of the Detroit bullpen in dire need of a day off, Sanchez pitched seven very strong innings. He likely had another inning in him, but Sanchez was pulled after 99 pitches, facing the minimum between the third and seventh innings.
Austin Jackson: Broke out of a slump with two hits and two RBIs. The biggest of which was a two run big fly to tie the game at 2-all in the bottom of the second.
Andrew Romine: Got to give him a roar for snapping a brutal skid with the first home run of his career.
3-6-1 double plays: The game-ending twin killing was as pretty as they come.
Ron Washington: Walking Miguel Cabrera in order to face the just as hot Victor Martinez should be enough to get his managerial card revoked.
The best part is that Ron Washington might do that again sometime this weekend— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 24, 2014
Losing streaks: This past week was AWFUL. To say the last four games was a miserable experience is a vast understatement Save for Danny Worth pitching (More, please), let's not do that again anytime soon.
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TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
|7||Designated for Assignment||22|
|# Recs||Commenter||Comment Link|
|2||josejose50||Walk Miggy to get to Victor...hmmm|
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|2||Alex Baker||YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS LARRY?|
GAME 42 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Shortstop/closer Danny Worth faced four batters in the ninth, striking out two and retiring the last three batters he faced. Worth's outing was a moment of fun in a miserable day, more than enough to take PotG honors in a blowout loss.