The Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 11-0 in the second game of the season, with strong offense to back a strong start by Anibal Sanchez. It's the first time in franchise history the team opened the season with back-to-back shutouts (according to ESPN Stats and Info).
Sanchez silenced the Twins by twirling a gem into the seventh inning, allowing just three hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two. He kept hitters off balance and induced weak contact throughout the game. His one hard-hit ball was a leadoff double in the sixth inning that never went anywhere.
The Tigers' offense batted around in the third, sent eight men to the plate in the fourth, and seven in the fifth. They scored nine runs during those three innings and one later in the seventh. Alex Avila and Jose Iglesias set the table for those runs in every occasion, scoring seven-of-eight times and drawing a combined four walks.
Jose Iglesias went 4-for-4 with a walk, improving his batting average to .857 and on-base percentage to .875. Anthony Gose finished 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI, Ian Kinsler and went 2-for-4 with a combined six RBI (including a sacrifice fly), and Victor Martinez was intentionally walked twice. Nick Castellanos was the only Tigers batter to go hitless and also not work a walk.
The Tigers' bullpen, comprised of Angel Nesbitt, Ian Krol, Al Alburquerque, and Joakim Soria, combined to close out the game in shutout fashion.
EliasSports noted the Tigers became the 14th team since 1900 to open a season with back-to-back shutouts and the first since the Nationals in 2013.
Anibal Sanchez: Where Nolasco threw 39 pitches in the third, Sanchez had 39 pitches after one out in the fourth inning. He dominated the Twins' offense, allowing just two singles, a double, and two walks in 6 2/3 innings of work. He did not walk a batter until the seventh inning, when Sanchez issued back-to-back walks with one out. He then struck out Oswaldo Arcia swinging to close a strong outing.
Alex Avila/Jose Iglesias: Avila started the third, fourth, and fifth innings by drawing a walk, setting the table for the offense. Never underestimate the power of leadoff walks sparking offense. Iglesias hit a double, an infield single, and a single to right field in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, following both of Avila's walks. His and Avila's actions directly led to the nine runs scored, and in all three occasions, both Avila and Iglesias came around to score.
Third through fifth innings: Combined, the Tigers had four hits, including two doubles, and two walks in the third, forcing Twins starter Ricky Nolasco to throw 39 pitches in that inning alone. Kinsler knocked a two-RBI single, which Cabrera then followed with an RBI single. In the fourth Gose had a triple, Kinsler got an RBI single (an ended up on third on an error), and a run scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, A sacrifice fly by Kinsler and an RBI single by Cabrera plated two more runs in the fifth, making it 9-0.
Nick Castellanos: Went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. He also ended the third inning on a bases-loaded strikeout.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Ian Kinsler finished with 55 multi-hit games in 2014, which was tied for fifth in the AL. Kinsler has recorded multiple hits in each of his first two games in 2015.
- The bottom two hitters in the order have combined for 10-for-12 with four walks to open the year.
- Hitters eight through three were a combined 13-for-20 with eight runs, four walks, a triple, and two doubles Wednesday.
- Angel Nesbitt made his MLB debut and induced a 6-3 groundout to end the seventh inning, stranding two runners.
- Jose Iglesias finished 4-for-4 with a double, giving him a career-first four-hit game.
- Alex Avila is the first Tigers catcher to score four times in a game since manager Brad Ausmus did it in 2000 as a player with the team.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: