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Mets 3, Tigers 1: Dismal offensive day ruins Anibal Sanchez’s brilliant start

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K-Rod’s awful ninth inning was the final nail in the coffin of a winnable game.

New York Mets v Detroit Tigers Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

DETROIT — Anibal Sanchez gave the Tigers a performance reminiscent of his old self, but the offense didn’t reciprocate with run support. Compounded by Francisco Rodriguez’s rough ninth, the Tigers failed to secure a sweep and lost 3-1 to the Mets in the last game of the homestand.

Sanchez wasn’t just good, he was dominant. He pitched around the corners with ease and had all his pitches working with movement. The velocity was back up and the Mets’ hitters couldn’t hit him, tallying just four hits across eight innings pitched. With no run support to back him up, he kept pace with Jacob deGrom and racked up 10 strikeouts.

The only mark on his start came in the seventh, when Sanchez gave up a solo home run to Michael Conforto — a pitch that was up and away to the lefty and well out of the zone. It was a lucky pitch that the left-fielder was somehow able to flick out of the park. But for the rest of the game, Sanchez was nearly unhittable.

As to that run support, the Tigers got a total of one run in the seventh despite loading the bases and driving deGrom from the game. Andrew Romine hit a swinging bunt single to load ‘em up, and Ian Kinsler pinch hit to knock a squibbling single over Jerry Blevins’ head to tie it. But that tie would not hold when Francisco Rodriguez gave up a towering two-run shot to Neil Walker in the ninth.

ROARS:

Anibal Sanchez: Eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits and no walks. He struck out 10 and threw 100 pitches, 70 of which were for strikes.

Ian Kinsler: Needing a hit with the bases loaded, Kinsler got an infield single to tie the game in the seventh.

HISSES:

Tigers offense: Granted, they faced Jacob deGrom, but they still managed just five weak hits in six innings. The offense squeaked out one run despite loading the bases in the seventh, their best chance to break the game open to that point.

Francisco Rodriguez: In his third straight game, K-Rod coughed up a poor performance. He had no command and gave up the Mets’ go-ahead two-run homer.

STATS AND INFO:
  • Anibal Sanchez’s scoreless streak ended in the seventh when he gave up a solo shot to Michael Conforto. He hadn’t allowed more than one run in his last 15 innings pitched. The last time he went for a stretch like that was June 3-21, 2015 when he allowed one run across 22 2/3 innings. He gave up one run in the third and then didn’t allow a run in the latter four innings of the June 3 start. He wouldn’t surrender another run until the second inning on June 21. Sanchez went 7 2/3 innings (six hits) on June 9 and pitched a two-hit shutout on the 15th.
  • In his last start, Sanchez had made it a point to stay ahead of hitters with first strike counts, and he did that again on Sunday — he had a first strike count to 19 of the 24 batters.
  • The Tigers finished 7-2 in the homestand despite the loss, and are 14-6 in their last 20 games.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs