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Tigers 5, Mariners 4: Bullpen, offense scrape out close win despite sloppy defense

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Anibal Sanchez went into the seventh inning despite a shaky start, and the bullpen held it together while the offense put up crucial runs.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Anibal Sanchez wasn't as sharp as he had been in his last seven starts. While the defense certainly didn't offer any help, it was the bullpen and the Detroit Tigers offense that squeaked out enough runs. The Tigers won 5-4 over the Seattle Mariners to take the series, their fourth series win in the last five series.'

Sanchez wasn't terrible to start. But he struggled with his command and gave up his 19th home run of the season, one away from tying a career-high 20 home runs in a single season. It's July 8. Anyway, he ended up walking five (!) batters in 6 1/3 innings pitched, striking out six but giving up the homer, a two-run shot and four runs in all. After one out in the seventh he gave way to Blaine Hardy, who struck out the only batter he faced.

Al Alburquerque then pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out a batter. Joakim Soria, brought in to close it out with a slim one-run lead, got the first two batters out on just seven pitches with a strikeout. But he struggled mightily from then on, walking the next two batters on 10 pitches to drive his pitch count up. He finally got out of it on the 22nd pitch of the at-bat, striking out Mark Trumbo and earning his 19th save of the season the hard way.

And the save was possible thanks to timely hitting by the Tigers offense. The baserunning was fuzzy at times and there was an #UmpShow going on with Country Joe at second base, but between Nick Castellanos, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jefry Marte, Detroit got the job done. Marte decided Wednesday was a good time to homer for the first time in his major league career, smacking a solo shot in the fourth. He and Castellanos finished with two RBI apiece, with Cespedes driving in the go-ahead run.

ROARS:

Jefry Marte's bat: Two hits, two runs, two RBI, a double, and a home run. His glove on the other hand was not so great, but we'll cover that a little further down.

Victor Martinez: Finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and a walk.

Jose Iglesias' bat: While his glove had a day off, his bat did not. Iglesias went 2-for-2 with an RBI, double, and a walk.

Nick Castellanos: Had just one hit but he drove in two runs on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly. He also scored a run, finishing 1-for-3 for the day.

Yoenis Cespedes: He got just one hit, but it was the go-ahead run of the game. He also saved at least three extra-base hits and what might have been a few runs, which would have turned this game into even more of a mess than it already was.

BONUS ROAR, Miguel Cabrera: The big man was watching the game while recovering from his injury. Needless to say his play-by-play of the ninth inning is worthy of a ROAR. My Spanish is still rusty so this may not be a complete translation. Did my best.

Translation thanks to MLB.com's Alejandro Zúñiga: "Wow, Soria has a changeup. Cano never expected that pitch."

Translation: "Soria 96 mph to Nelson wow. 3-2 BB nice. Now get Franklin (Gutierrez) out. I'm sorry fellow countryman." (Both Cabrera and Gutierrez are from Venezuela)

Translation: "Come on Soria attack the hitters."

Rough translation: "Come on with the changeup Soria, this is to win the series."

HISSES:

Tigers defense: A lazy play by Rajai Davis, an error by Jose Iglesias, an error by Jefry Marte, and a lazily bobbled ball by Yoenis Cespedes. And that was just in three innings, which cost the Tigers two runs. Iglesias also had trouble finding a popup in the bottom of the fourth due to the sun ... with his sunglasses still on the top of his cap.

Anibal Sanchez: Two of the four runs wouldn't have scored were it not for poor defense, but Sanchez's day wasn't good regardless. He gave up four runs on five hits, a two-run homer, and walked five (!) batters, striking out six. He may not have had that much help defensively, but he didn't help himself or his team with all the traffic or lack of command as the game went on.

Tigers baserunning: It was a mess today. (Copy+paste)

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • J.D. Martinez increased his hitting streak to nine consecutive games with a leadoff single in the second inning.
  • Nick Castellanos also now has a nine-game hitting streak when he knocked an RBI single in the second, scoring J.D. from second base.
  • Jefry Marte's home run in the fourth inning marked the first major league home run of his career.
  • The two home runs hit on Wednesday marked 14 homers hit by the Tigers and Mariners, which ties the record for home runs hit at Safeco Field in a three-game series.
  • Anibal Sanchez gave up his 19th home run of the season in the fourth inning, one away from tying his career-high of 20 homers allowed in a single season.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs