DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez gave the Detroit Tigers a stellar start, keeping a team off the board for more than seven innings for the first time this season. With a strong showing of offense thanks to 13 hits, the Tigers shut out the Chicago Cubs 6-0 to give Detroit a three-game winning streak.
Sanchez nearly gave up a two-run shot in the second inning. Rajai Davis brought it back, rescuing Sanchez from what would have been his 14th home run given up of the season. And it set the tempo for the entire evening. Sanchez went 7-2/3 scoreless innings, giving up just six hits and only two walks, while striking out seven batters.
The Cubs were a mere 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine baserunners. Following the nearly surrendered home run, Sanchez settled in, giving the Tigers a performance they had been desperately needing to see. He did leave with the bases loaded, but Joba Chamberlain struck out the final batter for him, keeping the shutout game intact. Alex Wilson, despite allowing two hits in the ninth, ended the game on a groundout to strand two Cubs runners.
The offense is back. Back again. It started in the first with a leadoff double by Davis, who quickly scored on a single by Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers scored runs in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth, innings, though they left the bases loaded in the sixth after scoring just one run. Ian Kinsler, Davis, and Cabrera all had multi-hit games, and Nick Castellanos drove in two while serving as the designated hitter.
The Tigers' 1-through-3 batters were a combined 7-for-11 with three RBI, a walk, and four runs scored. All during a night game when the Tigers have struggled to drive in runs -- eight-game losing streak notwithstanding. After a dismal period, three consecutive wins and double-digit hits is a sight for sore eyes, and gives everyone something to cheer for.
Anibal Sanchez: Looked very much like his old self, giving the Cubs little to work with. After 7 2/3 innings, he gave up just six hits and struck out seven.
Rajai freakin' Davis: Made an outstanding leaping catch over the left field fence to rob David Ross of a two-run home run in the second inning. Davis also started the game with a leadoff double, and came around to score on the RBI single by Miguel Cabrera. Oh, then he tripled and scored in the fifth. Have a day!
Miguel Cabrera: Speaking of the big man, Cabrera drove in the first run of the night on an RBI single. He laced a ground ball between two fielders just to the left of center field, and later did the same thing in the fourth inning in almost the same spot. He also singled in the sixth, going 3-for-3 on the night with a walk.
Offense: The once-dead offense returned to life. No, they're not zombies, though during the eight-game losing streak they often looked like it. Anyway, every Tigers batter got a hit, and Davis, Cabrera, and Kinsler all had multiple hits. Nick Castellanos, despite a TOOTBLAN attempting to stretch a single into a double, drove in two runs as well.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera's RBI single in the first inning extended his on-base streak to 27 straight games, the longest active streak in the major leagues. Cabrera's career-high is 44 games.
- James McCann entered Tuesday night's game with a caught stealing-rate of 50 percent (!). The league average is just 32 percent. Fear the McCannon.
- Rajai Davis hit yet another triple, his fifth of the season. With the triple, he tied Royals' Paulo Orlando and Phillies' Ben Revere for the MLB lead, with five.
- Ian Kinsler has multiple hits in four of his last five games and is batting .429/.455/.524 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored in that time.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: