On Sunday, the Tigers had a chance to go for their 11th win in their last 12 games and their third sweep in the last four series overall after earning a 6-5 victory on Saturday over the New York Mets. It came at a price though, as it was announced Nick Castellanos and Jordan Zimmermann were both heading to the disabled list.
On the bump for Detroit was Aníbal Sánchez (6-11, 6.26 ERA), who allowed just one ER over 6.0 IP his last time out against the White Sox. He opposed Mets ace and National League Cy Young contender Jacob deGrom (7-5, 2.41 ERA).
INNINGS 1 – 3
Nothing doing for either team in the 1st inning. Sánchez needed just seven pitches to put down the Mets in order. Detroit in the home half got a one-out base runner when Jose Iglesias reached on an error by the third baseman, but that was wiped out when Miguel Cabrera hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
A lot of the same in the 2nd inning. The Mets recorded the first base hit of the game, a one-out single to center from James Loney. Sánchez got a pair of fly ball outs to get out of the inning. In the bottom half, Victor Martínez led off the inning with a single to left, but then deGrom got a second 6-4-3 double play turned behind him, this time off the bat of J.D. Martinez. deGrom issued a walk to Justin Upton in the next at-bat, but nothing came of it.
It was quiet in the 3rd as well. the Mets got a two-out single from Curtis Granderson, but Sánchez worked around it. Detroit in the home half got a two-out rally going. Tyler Collins got a base hit up the middle, followed by a bunt single from Iglesias and Collins scooted over to third on a throwing error from deGrom. However, Cabrera grounded out to short to end the inning.
To this point, Aníbal Sánchez needed just 35 pitches to get through the first three, recording three punch outs in the process.
(THRU 3: TIED 0-0)
INNINGS 4 – 6
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the 4th, Sánchez notched another strikeout in the frame. It appeared that Detroit might finally get to deGrom after singles from Martínez and Martinez to lead off the inning. However, he got out of it after striking out Upton and inducing his third 6-4-3 double play, this time off the bat of the recently-recalled Casey McGehee.
The lack of offense for both sides continued into the 5th inning. The Mets got their third hit, a two-out knock from Kelly Johnson but nothing comes of it. Sánchez recorded strikeouts No. 5 and 6 in the inning. deGrom answered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom half.
The theme continued in the 6th. The Mets went down in order in the top half, Sánchez punching out two more New York batters, upping his total to eight for the game. Detroit turned in their own 1-2-3 frame in the bottom half, deGrom induced three line outs.
Through six innings, Sánchez was at 72 total pitches allowing just three hits, striking out eight.
(THRU 6: TIED 0-0)
INNINGS 7 – 9
The scoreless tie was broken in the 7th. After retiring the first two batters on five pitches, the fourth hit of the game that Sánchez allows leaves the yard for a opposite-field solo home run off the bat of Michael Conforto, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
In the home half, Detroit was able to load the bases vs. deGrom. Upton singled with one out, followed by a walk issued to James McCann two batters later and an infield single from Andrew Romine. That signaled the end for deGrom, in came lefty reliever Jerry Blevins.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus opted for a pinch hitter in this spot, Ian Kinsler came in to hit for Collins. Kinsler hit a high chopper over Blevins for an infield single to tie it up a 1-1. Blevins was pulled after one batter and in came Addison Reed, who got Iglesias to fly out to end the inning and leave them loaded.
(Final line on J. deGrom: 6.2 IP, 7 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 103 pitches)
Aníbal Sánchez was back out for the 8th inning after just 87 pitches through seven. He finished his outing with a clean frame, notching his 10th strikeout of the game and finishing at 100 in the pitch count.
(Final line on A. Sánchez: 8 IP, 4 H, ER, 10 K, solo HR, 100 pitches)
Reed came back out to pitch the 8th for New York. Detroit got another two-out rally when J.D. Martinez doubled. After an intentional walk to Upton, McGehee singled to right. Martinez rounded third and headed for home but put on the breaks and got caught in a rundown. He was tagged out as Upton did not stop.
Tigers closer Francisco Rodríguez came on for the 9th. He hit the lead-off man Alejandro De Aza before allowing a two-run homer to Neil Walker deep to right center, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead. Rodríguez got a ground ball out before departing the game and in came Bruce Rondón. He got the final two outs on seven pitches.
That blast by Walker presented a save opportunity for Mets closer Jeurys Familia. Kinsler got a two-out infield hit, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Familia struck out the side to lock down a 3-1 victory for the Mets as they salvage a game in the series.
ADDITIONAL GAME NOTES
The Tigers are now hitting .308 (12×39) with 10 RBI in pinch hitting situations this season.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) August 7, 2016
.@AnibalSanchez19 has struck out 10-or-more batters for the 13th time in his career, 2nd this season (last, 7/19 vs. MIN).
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) August 7, 2016
17th infield hit this season for Jose Iglesias, 3rd in AL behind Adam Eaton (25) and Xander Bogaerts (20), according to STATS.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 7, 2016
Thanks to the #Mets, Anibal Sanchez's ERA is below 6.00 for the first time since June 29. He came into the day at 6.26.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 7, 2016
Just the fourth time this season K-Rod has worked three straight days, first time since June 20-22
— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 7, 2016
All five home runs Francisco Rodriguez has allowed this season have come to left-handers, including that last one, a big one.
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) August 7, 2016
The Tigers will hit the road and head west for six games beginning Monday night with a three-game series in the Emerald City against the Seattle Mariners. Detroit swept the M’s back on June 20-23, three of the four victories were by two runs or fewer.
Seattle headed into Sunday’s action at 56-53, 7.0 games back in the American League West division and 4.5 GB in the Wild Card.
Game 1 on Monday (10:10 p.m. ET on FSD) will feature Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.42 ERA) and Hisashi Iwakuma (12-7, 3.99 ERA). Fulmer allowed just one ER against Seattle back on June 22, but worked just 4.1 IP. Iwakuma opposed Fulmer in that game, Detroit tagged him for 5 ER over 4.2 IP. He has a career 4.08 ERA against the Tigers.