Sanchez shuts down Royals in Tigers' win
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[July 12, 2014]
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The margin was
razor thin, but it was enough, as the Detroit Tigers slipped past the
Kansas City Royals 2-1 in front of 31,581 on an 88-degree Friday night
at Kauffman Stadium.
The Tigers moved 6 1/2 games in front of the Royals in the
American League Central.
One night after pounding out a season-high 16 runs, the Tigers gave
Anibal Sanchez just two runs, but that was one more than Sanchez and
two relievers allowed Kansas City.
"I tried to go right after them with strikes," Sanchez said.
"They're pretty good. I didn't want to allow any rallies. So I threw
a lot of breaking balls early in the count and they were swinging at
Sanchez (6-3) gave up one run on eight hits through seven innings.
He did not allow a runner past second base after the first inning
until the seventh inning.
"We haven't played in a whole lot of weather like this," said
Detroit bench coach Gene Lamont, who filled in for manager Brad
Ausmus from the second inning on after Ausmus left the dugout with
flu-like symptoms. "That might have had something to do with
(Sanchez) only being able to go seven innings.
"I don't think he's as good as he's going to be, but he was good
tonight. He's dominant against a lot of teams. He led the league in
ERA last year."
Kansas City manager Ned Yost agreed.
"He's a good pitcher," he said. "He changes speeds. He keeps the
ball down (and) has a good changeup and a good slider. He commands
Danny Duffy (5-9) was the hard-luck loser for Kansas City. He
entered the game with a 2.86 ERA, which would have tied for eighth
in the American League if he had pitched enough innings. He gave up
two runs (one earned) on five hits in six-plus innings Friday.
"I battled," Duffy said after the game. "I kind of fought myself
there in the first."
Joe Nathan survived a shaky ninth to pick up his 19th save in 24
chances. It was his 43rd career save against Kansas City, the most
against any team.
The game was a dramatic change from the previous night, when the
team combined for 20 runs.
"That's called baseball," said Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain, who
gave up two hits but no runs in the eighth. "It's the way each day
changes. You're going to win games big, and you're going to need to
win games 2-1. We've got to continue to grind. We've got two more
games to finish this series the right way, and we've had a good
start to the series."
The Tigers have taken the first two games of a four-game series
between the top two teams in the American League Central. The Tigers
are 5-0 in Kansas City this season. The Royals will count on ace
James Shields Saturday to reverse the trend.
The Royals had opportunities throughout the game as they had at
least one hit in every inning. In the eighth, left fielder Nori Aoki
led off with a single. First baseman Eric Hosmer followed with a
single -- his third hit -- moving Aoki to second. But catcher
Salvador Perez and designated hitter Billy Butler flew out to center
to end the threat.
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In the ninth, the Royals had runners on first and second with one
out, but shortstop Alcides Escobar struck out swinging and Aoki
grounded out to first to end the game.
"We had like five plays that could have gone either way," Yost said.
"If we could've (gotten) just a little break."
The Tigers got a run quickly against Duffy. Center fielder Austin
Jackson led off with a shot to left-center for a double. Second
baseman Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI single.
The Royals tied the game in the bottom of the first. With two outs,
Hosmer legged out a double. The hit extended Hosmer's hitting streak
to 11 games, which matches his career high. Perez then looped a
single to center, driving in Hosmer.
Detroit got an unearned run in the third. Davis led off with a
single following an 11-pitch at-bat. He went to second on a single
by Jackson. Both runners advanced when Duffy tried to pick off Davis
at second and threw the ball into center. First baseman Miguel
Cabrera drove home left fielder Rajai Davis with a sacrifice fly to
NOTES: DH Victor Martinez was out of the lineup for the sixth
straight game with irritation in his sore back. He left the game
against Tampa Bay on July 4. There was no update of his condition
before Friday's game, but he was replaced on the All-Star roster by
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. ... The Royals recalled OF Nori
Aoki from his minor-league rehab assignment with Double-A Northwest
Arkansas and activated him from the 15-day disabled list. He was
placed on the DL June 21 with a left groin strain. The Royals made
room for him on the active roster by optioning INF Christian Colon
to Triple-A Omaha. Colon was 4-for-12 in limited action. He had two
doubles and a triple among his four hits. ... Thursday night was the
first time in club history that at least six Tigers had multiple
hits and multiple RBIs in the same game. The Tigers banged out a
season-best 16 runs and had 19 hits. All 11 Tigers who batted scored
at least one run and had one hit.
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