DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez was Sanchezing again. While his final line won't reflect it, he was outstanding. With a new lineup to back him, the Detroit Tigers offense peppered 13 hits against the Toronto Blue Jays, taking a slim 8-6 win after Alex Wilson imploded in the eighth.
Nine years after tossing his first no-hitter as a major leaguer, Sanchez twirled a gem. He faced just one batter over the minimum through six, as a result of a leadoff walk in the second. When he's sharp, Sanchez typically strikes out a plethora of batters, but he had just five strikeouts through 7 1/3 innings. Not that it mattered, as Sanchez kept nearly everything on the ground, allowing just four flyouts in all. He didn't allow another baserunner until the one-out walk to Jose Bautista in the seventh. But in the eighth, Sanchez lost his no-hit bid, and soon after, the shutout.
A leadoff walk -- the third of the night -- was followed by three consecutive singles, scoring the Blue Jays' first run. And of all people to ruin Sanchez's developing no-hitter, it was former Tiger Ezequiel Carrera who did it. Former Tiger Devon Travis got the second hit to pile on the salt in what was nearly a perfect night to that point. Sanchez exited to a loud standing ovation, responsible for three on-base. After starting the eighth with 90 pitches, Sanchez gave way to Alex Wilson at 117 pitches. From there, Wilson blew it up, ultimately requiring the Tigers to go to Joakim Soria for the save.
The Tigers shuffled the lineup around in a big way for the first time this season and it paid off. Batting second, Yoenis Cespedes doubled to the left-center-field gap, which Miguel Cabrera promptly followed with an RBI single to score him. The start would have been better, had Cabrera's foot -- advancing to third on Victor Martinez's groundout -- not come off the bag for a split moment.
That wouldn't matter in the long run as the Tigers went on to knock in seven runs through five innings, including a run on back-to-back doubles by the firm of Martinez and Martinez. They later added a run in the seventh on back-to-back-to-back singles by Andrew Romine, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez, who scored the last run. It would end up being much-needed insurance.
Anibal Sanchez: Regardless of the four runs reflected on his final line, Sanchez gave the Tigers one heck of a dominant performance. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and despite leaving with the bases loaded, should have allowed just the one run had the bullpen done its job (but then, that's the norm, so ...)
Miguel Cabrera: Started the day with two singles, driving in a run. Unfortunately his day also ended there as he was pulled in the fourth due to a left calf strain when he attempted to take second base. He will undergo an MRI. Cabrera got knocked in the face recently with a ball, which bloodied his face and he remained in the game. So, if he's coming out of the game it's for a good reason.
Tigers offense: Cathartic. They had 10 hits by the end of the fifth inning, including two walks, three doubles, and seven runs. They tacked on another run in the seventh on three straight hits, capped by J.D.'s RBI single. The rearranged lineup worked to a tee.
Victor and J.D. Martinez: Victor was 3-for-4 with a double, advancing to third on a throwing error by the Blue Jays' second baseman. He later scored on J.D. Martinez's double, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Alex Wilson: Wilson doesn't usually implode as gloriously as he fell apart on Friday night. But he sure did in this instance, allowing five runs to score -- three that were inherited and charged to Sanchez. He exited after facing four batters and recording one out, having given up the two-run single and the bases-clearing double.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera's first-inning RBI was his 900th as a member of the Tigers. He's one of 12 players in franchise history with 900 RBI.
- The 47 inherited runners allowed by the Tigers' bullpen is the most in Major League Baseball.
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