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Twins 6, Tigers 2: Bruce Rondon’s 7th-inning collapse, lack of offense dooms Detroit

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Anibal Sanchez finally delivered, but his support system let him down.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

At long last, Anibal Sanchez looked like his old self for a game. Unfortunately, the offense was down for the count for the second straight game, and Bruce Rondon had his worst outing of the year. Whereas the Tigers shut out Minnesota on Monday, Detroit lost 6-2 to the Twins to even the series, nearly getting shut out in the process.

Sanchez ... was good. At least, facing a team with the worst record in the American League. The Twins’ offense has been better of late, but on the whole the team has been a walking dumpster fire since Day 1 this year. Had Sanchez not been able to corral them through six innings, it would’ve been a new low.

Even with the low bar, there were noticeable (and improved) differences in his delivery. The command had returned some on his fastball and the offspeed pitches had improved depth. The Twins are what they are, but that doesn’t negate Sanchez’s performance, or that he struck out the side in consecutive innings with 10 strikeouts in all.

Where it all went wrong wasn’t with him, but that manager Brad Ausmus left him in to start the seventh at 93 pitches. Sanchez’d had six solid innings with just one run allowed, but he started the next frame by allowing a six-pitch walk and a single that ended his night. Bruce Rondon was asked to pitch out of a two-on, no outs situation, which he failed to accomplish and departed following a two-run homer allowed.

The Tigers faced a six-run deficit after seven and Detroit’s silent offense against Twins starter Tommy Milone was equally detrimental. The offense finally knocked Milone out of the game in the ninth, depriving him of a shutout and a complete game. However, after scoring two and loading the bases with one out, the Tigers couldn’t complete the comeback — a need that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

ROARS:

Anibal Sanchez: Take this with a grain of salt, but he did what he should’ve against an awful Twins team.

Tigers bullpen not named Rondon: Alex Wilson, Kyle Ryan, and Mark Lowe gave Detroit 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

HISSES:

Tigers offense: Facing the Twins, Detroit couldn’t drive in a run in eight innings, and they had just one hit to show for their efforts in that time. James McCann had the only hit, a single, and there were two walks drawn until the ninth.

Bruce Rondon: Gave up five runs (two charged to Sanchez) in two-thirds of an inning, including a two-run homer in the seventh.

Brad Ausmus: He had a solid start from Sanchez, the first since early May. Instead, he tried to squeeze water out of a rock and paid the price by keeping Sanchez in too long, and going to the one reliever who’s had home run trouble lately. Furthermore, when the bases were loaded he left Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the dugout with a helmet and a bat in his hands, while Jose Iglesias struck out on three pitches to end the game.

STATS AND INFO:
  • Anibal Sanchez struck out 10-or-more batters in a game for the 12th time in his career and the first time since May 24, 2015 against the Astros.
  • This start was the first time since May 14 that Sanchez got through three straight innings without surrendering a run.
  • Tonight was the first time this season that Sanchez had gone six innings or more, allowed three runs or less, and not allowed a homer in the same start.
  • Mark Lowe has given up one run in the last 3 2/3 innings, with back-to-back scoreless innings for the first time since May 17-23 when he had four straight clean outings across four frames.
  • Between May 29 and July 5 — spanning 12 games and 10 2/3 innings pitched — Lowe had given up 19 runs on 24 hits. He’d walked four, struck out only six, and given up six homers in that time. In the last three games he has four strikeouts and no walks. Too small for even a small sample size but between those two scoreless stretches, it’s truly incredible just how bad Lowe has been — allowing for the argument that he may not yet be back.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs