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Rays 5, Tigers 2: Karns keeps the Tigers at bay, Casali provides the offense

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Neither the hitting nor the pitching was particularly impressive in this game.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On a night in which Anibal Sanchez didn't have his best stuff he was able to limit the damage to three runs. Unfortunately, former Tigers' farmhand Curt Casali provided enough offense on his own to overcome an anemic Tigers' lineup, blasting two home runs into the left field seats. The Tigers' offense was held to only five hits and dropped another opportunity to gain ground in the wild card race.

Sanchez labored through five innings, allowing a run in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. He was removed with one out in the sixth inning after throwing 113 pitches, and Al Alburquerque, Ian Krol, Alex Wilson, and Bruce Rondon all saw action in relief. Rondon allowed the second home run to Casali, a two-run shot that accounted for the final score.

The Tigers offense was silent through the first six innings, a Victor Martinez single being the only thing preventing no-hitter alerts from sounding across the country. Yoenis Cespedes broke the silence with a line-drive home run in the seventh inning, and then drove in Ian Kinsler with a bloop hit to left field in the eighth inning. Unfortunately, those two runs weren't enough support for a struggling Sanchez and Rondon.

The Rays got on the board in the third inning on Casali's first blast, which may have actually exited and re-entered the Tropicana Field dome before landing beyond left field. They added a second run on a pair of doubles in the fourth inning, and a third run on a trio of singles in the fifth. Casali did the rest of his damage in the eighth, driving in Steven Souza and himself.

The five runs would be more than enough to edge past a sleepy Tigers' offense and move the Rays to 50-51. The Tigers drop to 48-51 with only four days until the trade deadline.

ROARS:

Ian Krol: The young lefty was called upon in a tight spot -- with runners on the corners and only one out -- and escaped the jam. The curveball used to strike out Joey Butler was especially filthy:

Yoenis Cespedes: His mammoth shot in the seventh and his RBI single in the eighth accounted for both of the runs the Tigers scored tonight.

Victor Martinez: While they were only singles and didn't result in runs, Victor was responsible for two of the Tigers five hits.

HISSES:

The offense: While they were able to make it interesting at one point, five hits and a couple walks won't get it done most of the time. Tonight was no exception.

Bruce Rondon: He did eventually get three outs, but only after a walk and a home run turned a one-run game into a three-run game.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Casali's blast in the third was Sanchez's 22nd home run allowed of the season. The last Tigers pitcher to allow that many dingers in a season was Max Scherzer in 2012, with 23.
  • After recording two outs in the sixth, Krol has a 1.42 ERA since July 11th, and has stranded all five of his inherited runners in that span.
  • Cespedes' seventh-inning home run ended a twelve-inning scoreless streak for Karns.
  • The loss ends a streak in which the Tigers had won the last eight starts by Sanchez dating back to June 3rd. Sanchez has pitched to a 4.66 ERA over that period, and has failed to finish the seventh inning in his last four starts.
  • Alex Wilson added another scoreless inning to his record, driving his season ERA down to 1.84. He last allowed a run on July 7th.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs