Sanchez flirts with no-no, Tigers hold on vs. Jays
DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and a five-run fourth gave the Tigers a necessary cushion as they held on for an 8-6 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Comerica Park in a game the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera exited with a strained left calf.
Toronto's Ezequiel Carrera had a noteworthy performance, both in left field and at the plate. His throwing miscues on consecutive plays extended Detroit's big fourth inning. And, following a seven-pitch battle with Sanchez in the eighth, Carrera lined a single into left field to break up the no-hit bid with one out.
"Sanchy did a great job," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "I think he got a little weary at the end. Pitch count was up. When you get tired, you lose a little bit of your control, but he did, obviously, an outstanding job tonight."
The Tigers, using a revamped lineup, recorded 10 hits and seven runs off Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings. Detroit needed every one of those runs, as Toronto put up a six spot in the eighth to force closer Joakim Soria into action in the ninth.
"We need to do a better job throwing strikes coming out of the bullpen," Ausmus said. "Bottom line, we gotta throw strikes. You got a lead like that, we have to attack the hitters."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cabrera leaves game: On the night Detroit finally regained Alex Avila, the last of its injured position players, the club lost its biggest offensive weapon when nine-time All-Star Cabrera left in the fourth inning with a left calf strain, according to the Tigers.
Cabrera pulled up while running toward second base during Victor Martinez's at-bat and, despite exiting under his own power, was limping heavily as he walked slowly across the diamond and down the dugout steps. He will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, but Ausmus said he's "not optimistic" Cabrera will avoid the disabled list.
"When Miggy says he can't play, you know it's serious, because Miggy plays through anything," Ausmus said.
Throwing it around: The Blue Jays entered the bottom of the fourth trailing by one run but the wheels quickly fell off thanks to a pair of defensive miscues. The first happened with runners on first and second when Carrera wasn't able to hang onto the ball after making a diving catch in left field. Carrera compounded the issues by throwing the ball away, which allowed two runs to score. During the next at-bat, Carrera missed the cutoff man after another single and the ball skipped into the dugout as two more runs scored.
"We were uncharacteristically sloppy tonight with some of the throws," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We didn't back up and things like that. You never know if that doesn't happen what the difference of runs scored would be. That was unusual for us, we haven't seen that all year."
No no-no: Carrera, who had worked a full count in his first at-bat, put up a similar fight in his third. He fouled off three pitches before he got ahold of Sanchez's eighth offering, a changeup that Carrera lined solidly into left field. Two batters later, Sanchez's night ended after 117 pitches, and the righty tipped his hat to a standing ovation from the near-capacity crowd.
"He tried to get ahead on the count, and after that, he was fighting on every pitch," Sanchez said.
Bouncing back: The Blue Jays' bats finally came to life after the no-hitter was broken up in the eighth inning. Carrera, Devon Travis, Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson hit four consecutive singles before Dioner Navarro eventually cleared the bases with a three-run double to the gap in right-center field. That cut the Tigers' lead to two, but that was as close as the Blue Jays would get as they lost for the fourth time in the last five games.
"I called a changeup, kind of like, 'If he puts it down like he did earlier in the game, it's a strikeout.' But I should've known better. He just made a hundred and something pitches. I probably should've called a fastball. Next time." -- Avila, on Carrera's at-bat in the eighth inning
"It's typical Sanchez, he throws anything at any time. He's a master of that. He's one of the better pitchers in baseball for a number of years. Both sides of the plate, he'll use four or five different pitches and he command them all pretty good." -- Gibbons, on Sanchez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cabrera's run-scoring single in the first inning marked his 900th RBI as a member of the Tigers. The first baseman is one of just 12 players in club history with 900 RBIs.
Had it happened, the Tigers' last two no-hitters would've come against the Blue Jays, with Avila catching and Jerry Meals as the home-plate umpire.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their series against the Tigers on a Saturday matinee affair for Independence Day at 1:08 p.m. ET. Dickey has allowed three earned runs or less in each of his last six starts but has a 1-3 record over that same span because of a lack of run support.
Tigers: Ace David Price takes the hill for Saturday's Independence Day matinee at Comerica Park. The lefty boasts a 2.62 ERA, and Detroit is 13-3 when he pitches. In his last outing, Price allowed four earned runs for the first time since early May.