Two pitchers looking to put a forgettable 2017 season behind them faced off on a cool night in Kansas City and a pitching duel broke out.
Both pitchers would go pitch for pitch over the first four innings, with one run and three hits given up each. The Tigers struck first in the top of the third when JaCoby Jones drew a walk, then stole second and came home on an Ian Kinsler single. The Royals would tie things up in the bottom of the fourth when Whit Merrifield doubled off the wall to lead off, then scored from third on a bloop double down the line off the bat of Eric Hosmer.
Despite the close game, neither pitcher was especially dominating. The Tigers had runners in every inning but the first but hit into three double plays through five innings. The Royals had threats and hard hits, though the first 4 innings too, but lined into sharp outs and ran into a strike out-throw out.
The Royals went ahead in the bottom of the 5th on a bloop lead off single from Brandon Moss, and then a sacrifice fly from Merrifield would eventually score him. Sanchez would find himself in a 2 out jam with two in scoring position but got Cabrera to fly out to center to end the threat. He would end up going six innings, giving up seven hits, 2 runs, one walk, and striking out six.
Demoted closer Kelvin Herrera would take over for Vargas in the seventh and set the Tigers down in order. Drew VerHagen pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Tigers got a runner on in the eighth but once again hit into a double play. In the ninth they once again threatened but again hit into a rally killing double play.
Sigh...five more games to go.
Anibal Sanchez – A quality start. Six innings, two ruins, six strikeouts, one walk. A nice start to give teams something to think about as they look at lower tier pitchers over the winter.
Double plays – Five of them to be precise. Killed every rally tigers tried to start.
STATS and INFO
The Twins Won in Cleveland tonight and have clinched the final AL wild card. Meaning that #RomineAllNine is in play.