The Detroit Tigers looked to be in control of tonight's game for a while, but one bad inning from starter Anibal Sanchez was enough for the Minnesota Twins to squeak out a 3-2 win tonight at Target Field. Mike Pelfrey got the win for Minnesota, allowing two runs (one earned) in seven strong innings.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Anthony Gose hit a line drive single with two outs to score Alex Avila, who reached third base after Jose Iglesias grounded into a double play with two on and no outs. Gose then stole second, but was stranded when Ian Kinsler grounded out to end the inning.
The Twins struck back in the bottom of the third with a two-out RBI of their own. Danny Santana hit a rocket of a line drive past Anibal Sanchez to score Oswaldo Arcia, who had singled earlier in the inning. The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth when Yoenis Cespedes hit a double off the wall in center field, scoring J.D. Martinez.
The Twins threatened to even the score in the bottom of the fifth, but a baserunning blunder cost them a chance at a run. With two on and two outs, Santana hit a sharp single to right. Arcia hesitated while rounding third, but continued to head towards home plate. J.D. Martinez's throw was on target, and Arcia was out by 30 feet.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Sanchez ran into trouble in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff single to Eduardo Nunez and an RBI double to Eduardo Escobar, tying the game. After striking out Arcia, Sanchez gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki, giving the Twins a 3-2 lead. Sanchez escaped the inning without allowing any further damage, but the 34-pitch inning ended his night.
The Tigers didn't put up much of a fight in the later innings, failing to put a runner on base after the fourth inning. Casey Fien and Glen Perkins worked 1-2-3 innings to close things out for the Twins.
Anibal Sanchez: He wasn't very sharp in the seventh inning, but Sanchez was brilliant in his first six frames. He ended the night with three runs allowed and six strikeouts to no walks.
Alex Avila: Drew a pair of walks this evening and scored the Tigers' first run in the top of the third inning. Avila went 0 for 1 and is hitting just .171, but leads the team with 11 non-intentional walks.
The offense: Pelfrey was outstanding tonight, but the Tigers were only able to pick up three hits, all within the first four innings. They weren't particularly unlucky either, as there weren't many hard-hit balls against the Twins' pitching staff tonight.
Al Alburquerque: Is it harsh to give someone a hiss for a scoreless inning? Probably, but Alburquerque's outing did nothing to alleviate the growing concerns surrounding the 28-year-old righthander. Al Al got away with some mistakes and nearly broke open a one-run game.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-out RBI double in the top of the fourth inning to score J.D. Martinez. Cespedes is now 10 for 21 with runners in scoring position this season, a .476 average. Cespedes leads the Tigers with 17 RBI.
- J.D. Martinez threw out Oswaldo Arcia at home plate in the bottom of the fifth for his fourth outfield assist of the season. This ties him for the MLB lead (h/t Matthew B. Mowery).
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: