DETROIT -- With Anibal Sanchez pitching a quietly stellar game, Justin Upton hit his first home run of the year and the Martinez brothers were back in action as the offense tallied 14 hits. The Tigers won 8-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, finishing Opening Week with a 4-2 record. They now head to Pittsburgh to continue the home-home series with the Pirates.
Sanchez had to sit through several egregiously long innings with Pirates starter Juan Nicasio on the mound. Despite that, he pitched brilliantly. Through his first 100 pitches, which spanned 5 2/3 innings, he surrendered just two hits and struck out four batters. He struggled with command at times, which was evidenced by the three walks and a wild pitch, but despite missing his spots even in the fifth, he retired the Pirates with ease.
It wasn't until facing David Freese in the sixth on the third time through the order, that Sanchez gave up another hit, and his first runs. On his 102nd pitch of the day, he allowed a single to Freese, which Starling Marte followed with a two-run home run to left. A wild pitch and a walk on pitch 107 ended his day. Surprisingly, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus went with Justin Wilson, who made light work of Gregory Polanco to end the sixth.
With Sanchez taking control of the Pirates batters, the Tigers were busy doing the same thing Pittsburgh had done to Justin Verlander on Monday. The offense fouled off pitch after pitch, forcing Nicasio's pitch count way up early on. After two innings, the team was up 4-0.
Facing old friend Kyle Lobstein on his third inning in the sixth, Detroit bats scorched the baseball all over the field. Victor Martinez tagged two home-run-distance foul balls before tattooing one to left-center for a leisurely two-run double.
Justin Upton: Launched his first home run of the season into the center field camera well, putting the Tigers on the board in the first inning.
J.D. Martinez: Finished with four hits, including a double and two RBI.
Hitters 1-5: Combined to finish the day 13-for-18 with four walks and all eight runs scored. Victor Martinez finished with two hits and two walks, including a double.
Anibal Sanchez: Through 5 2/3 innings he pitched brilliantly, giving up just two hits and two walks amid four strikeouts. Not until he crossed the 100-pitch mark did he surrender a run.
Juan Nicasio's pace of play: An hour and 34 minutes to get through three innings, with a break every few pitches or so for Nicasio to get on the same page with his catcher. Brutally slow.
Nick Castellanos' offense: Finished with three strikeouts for a golden sombrero. His defense, on the other hand, was stellar.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Justin Upton's home run traveled a distance of 452 feet and left his bat at 111 mph. It was his 17th 450-ft homer since the start of 2009, second in MLB behind Giancarlo Stanton (29), according to ESPN Stats and Info.
- Tuesday was Upton's first four-hit game since Sept. 28, 2013, and the 11th of his MLB career.
- J.D. Martinez recorded the second four-hit game of his career with a single in the eighth. His first occurred on May 30, 2013 at the Rockies.
- Ian Kinsler finished with two hits and a walk. It marked his fourth multi-hit game of the year. The team has only played six games thus far.
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