DETROIT--The Detroit Tigers returned home after a brutal road trip for a six-game homestand to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Both teams entered Tuesday night's game tied with a .586 winning record, one on a hot streak, the other on ice. The result was an all-out pitchers' duel through eight innings.
Anibal Sanchez pitched another gem for the Tigers on Tuesday, going seven innings and striking out five batters. Of the 107 pitches he threw, a double off the bat of Juan Francisco in the third and a double by Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth were the only hits he gave up to the Blue Jays.
Joba Chamberlain came out to pitch the eighth and breezed through, delivering a quick and easy 1-2-3 inning. After blowing two of the last four save situations, Joe Nathan came in to pitch the ninth inning and served it up, leadoff walk style. Following the walk, Nathan handed in two singles, the second of which scored the first run of the evening for either side.
Nathan then walked Encarnacion to load the bases and his night was done, replaced by Ian Krol who gave up a sacrifice fly. Al Alburquerque relieved Krol and served up a three-run homer on a 2-1 slider which ended up in the right field seats.
Nathan only pitched 1/3 of an inning but he gave up two hits and was responsible for four of the five runs allowed in the ninth inning. Of the last six games Joe Nathan has pitched in, one was a no-decision, two resulted in a save and two were blown saves and a loss. Both blown saves also resulted in a loss for the Tigers.
Meanwhile, the Tigers' offense was once again missing in action as Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez struck out twice and scattered only three hits across eight innings. Victor Martinez hit a long scorched single to deep right field in the second and had an infield hit in the fourth. Don Kelly singled in the second and hit a line shot to right field but it was caught to end the inning.
But as is the usual, the Tigers would not go down without a fight -- after Steve Delabar walked both Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez delivered a three-run bomb to left field. While Don Kelly struck out swinging to end the game, the final score read 5-3 in favor of the Blue Jays rather than what would have been a shut out.