DETROIT -- While it wasn't perfect, Anibal Sanchez gave the Detroit Tigers a decent start. Backed by a large offensive third inning -- capped by a monster grand slam by Nick Castellanos -- the Tigers won 9-4 over the Seattle Mariners, ensuring at worst, a series split.
The Tigers sent 12 men to the plate in the third alone and scored eight runs, four of which came courtesy of Castellanos' first-career grand slam -- a no-doubter. Of course, then the offense absolutely died. After those 12 batters in one inning, nine of the next 10 batters were retired. Only Jose Iglesias' fifth-inning two-out double survived. Thankfully, Sanchez wasn't struggling, though he did begin to tire at the end of the sixth.
And yet, four of Sanchez's six strikeouts were looking, high strikeouts that just froze Mariners batters. In his only two 1-2-3 innings of the night, Sanchez retired four via the strikeout. On the flip side of that, he also allowed two home runs in the game, both by Nelson Cruz. But with a comfortable lead to work with, Sanchez had more leeway than he might otherwise have been given. Not to mention, the bullpen was taxed from Tuesday night's disaster.
In the end, while Sanchez wasn't completely stellar, he also wasn't awful. He was alright, and on Wednesday night, that was exactly what the Tigers needed. He got within a strike of finishing the seventh, but at 103 pitches, Sanchez allowed a single to Kyle Seager and his night was finished.
Manager Brad Ausmus went to his bullpen for Alex Wilson, in what may have been his best chance to shine in a high pressure situation, something that Ausmus has failed to do for the majority of the season. Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz on a 93 mph high fastball to end the first-and-third threat after a seven-pitch at-bat. He'll do just fine (I know, I know, small sample size and all). It was the first time all night that Cruz had been retired, as he'd already homered twice and doubled.
Tigers offense: Took a couple of innings to warm up but then they charged full speed ahead. They scored eight runs in the third inning, brought 12 men to the plate, walked three, and topped by a grand slam.
Nick Castellanos: Speaking of grand slams, Castellanos got the first of his career in that third. He had also walked in the second and singled in the seventh.
Ian Kinsler: Started the night with a 3-for-3 night with two singles and a double, plating two runs. He would finish 3-for-4 with those same stats in the previous sentence.
Jose Iglesias: Ripped two doubles in the game, plating a run for an RBI in the third. He finished 2-for-3.
No. Not doing this tonight.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Entering tonight, the Tigers are batting .295 with 31 doubles, 27 HR, and 87 RBI in July, which leads the American League. J.D. Martinez accounted for seven of those home runs.
- Ian Kinsler is batting .375 since the start of July with seven doubles, three home runs, and 13 RBI. He finished 4-for-5, marking his 34th multi-hit game of the season, which is tied for second in the AL.
- Cespedes's walk in the first gave him a walk in back-to-back games after going through 33 games without a walk. The last time he walked in consecutive games was on June 9-10. He also back-to-back walks on May 20-21 and drew walks in three straight games on May 25-27 this year. He later drew another walk in the third.
- Since June 9 when he finished 0-for-4, Victor Martinez has cooled off following his hot return from the DL. Martinez is batting just .231 in last 10 games and has eight hits, one double, three home runs, and five RBI.
- Nick Castellanos hit the first grand slam of his career in the third, a monster moonshot that bounced off the left-center field brick walls. The distance traveled was 448 feet, according to ESPN, and the ball left his bat at 109 mph.
- J.D. Martinez cut down Seth Smith at second with his 11th assist of the season, second-most in MLB. Only the Rangers' outfielder Leonis Martin has more, with 12. Martinez's 11 outfield assists this season are the most by a Tigers outfielder since Craig Monroe had 12 in 2006.
- The eight runs scored by Detroit in the third were the most in an inning this season, and the most since they scored eight in the fifth inning on July 10, 2014 at Kansas City against the Royals.
- The Tigers and the Mariners have allowed the second-most and the most home runs by a starter, respectively, this season.
- Anibal Sanchez allowed two home runs in the game, both off Nelson Cruz. The home runs matched, and then set a new career-high homers allowed by Sanchez, at 21.
- Nelson Cruz has three multi-homer games against the Tigers in his career, including one in the 2011 postseason.
- Joakim Soria recorded the 200th save of his career tonight.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: