DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez dug an early pit. The Detroit Tigers offense got him right back out of it with a five-run spot in the first. Sanchez gave it right back in the sixth and the bullpen couldn't hold a tie. In the end the Tigers lost 10-8 to the Houston Astros, settling for a series tie and finishing the seven-game homestand with a 3-4 record.
Sanchez was a mess in the first inning. The only thing he didn't give up to start was a home run, and by the end of the first it didn't look like Sanchez would last long. But after the first Sanchez came back to life, and by he third he settled in. Sanchez retired 15 of the next 17 batters, allowing just one double and a walk in that time.
But Evan Gattis hit a leadoff home run in the sixth inning and the game collapsed on Sanchez. He was able to strike out two of the next three batters but couldn't get the final out and gave up a three-run bomb to pinch hitter Preston Tucker, ending his day at a season-high 115 pitches and striking out 11 batters. The bullpen picked the worst time to have a bad day, coughing up a tied game to give the Astros a three-run lead they would not relinquish.
Of the seven runs driven in before Miguel Cabrera's ninth-inning home run, six scored with two outs. Bryan Holaday gave the Tigers their first lead of the day when he knocked a two-run double in the first, and Nick Castellanos' double in the fifth gave the team their seventh run of the game. Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony Gose, Miguel Cabrera, and Castellanos all had multi-hit days, and the offense tallied six doubles. Cabrera also smoked a home run to left in the ninth.
Were this another game bereft of run support, the Tigers would have been out of the game long ago. That was not the case as the Tigers got eight runs on 14 hits and actually had a four-run lead through the fifth inning. Ordinarily, that's more than enough to win a ball game. Sunday was not that day.
Tigers offense: Sanchez put the Tigers into an early hole. The offense picked Sanchez up and hit their way back into the lead, scoring five runs on four hits with three walks and two doubles. They tacked on thee runs later in the game, scoring eight runs on 14 hits in all.
Anthony Gose: Walked in the first, singled in the second, and doubled in a run in the fourth -- advancing to third on the throw. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk.
Nick Castellanos: After struggling off and on in the last week, Castellanos reached base three times, getting a walk, single, and an RBI double.
Miguel Cabrera: Doubled to start the game and finished with a blast to left for his 11th home run of the season.
Sanchez in the first inning: Single, wild pitch, infield single (challenged), groundout, two-run triple, walk, balk (scores a run), strikeout, flyout. After the triple it wasn't pitching coach Jeff Jones who came out to talk to Sanchez, but Ausmus. Sanchez forgot you're not allowed to fake a throw to third, a rule that's now in its third season, which led to the run-scoring balk.
Brad Ausmus: For leaving Sanchez in the game far too long. At 110 pitches and facing a left-handed batter, Ausmus could have pulled Sanchez for Wilson, who has been dependable. Instead, he gambled that Sanchez could get the last out (likely because of how he did in innings two through five) and lost big time. What was once a 7-3 lead collapsed into a 7-7 tie. For this reason, Ausmus gets the boo over Sanchez in the sixth, as he could've exited with a 7-3 lead and 5 2/3 innings pitched.
The bullpen: Alex Wilson, after striking out the final batter in the sixth, allowed two singles in the seventh. Tom Gorzelanny faced one batter and struck him out, but both runs would come around to score when Angel Nesbitt gave up a two-run single to right and then gave up another run in the eighth.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double to left in the first inning, surpassing J.D. Martinez for the longest hitting streak on the team. Cabrera's last 13-game hitting streak was Aug. 18-31, 2010. His only 14-game hitting streak was Sept. 10-24, 2012, and Cabrera's career-high is 20 games.
- Anthony Gose walked, singled, and doubled, giving him the 14th multi-hit game of the season and the seventh two-hit game this year.
- Yoenis Cespedes hit his sixth double of the season in the fifth inning, which leads the American League. The hit also gave him his 17th multi-hit game of the season, one behind Ian Kinsler, who leads the team with 18 multi-hit games.
- The home run allowed by Anibal Sanchez to Evan Gattis was the 10th home run Sanchez has given up in a season since he gave up 20 in 2012.
- The 11 strikeouts by Anibal Sanchez set a new high for the season. Sanchez has recorded 10-or-more strikeouts in a game for the 11th time in his career, and first time since August 3, 2014 against Colorado when he struck out 12 batters.
- Miguel Cabrera's home run in the ninth inning was his 11th of the season, and his 263rd home run as a member of the Tigers, passing Willie Horton for sole possession of fourth in franchise history.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: