Sanchez loses no-hit bid, Tigers lose game to Royals
DETROIT (AP) — Just about everything is going wrong for manager Brad Ausmus and the Detroit Tigers.
Struggling Anibal Sanchez turned himself around and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but two of Detroit’s three key relievers allowed homers and the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 4-1 victory and a three-game sweep of the Tigers on Wednesday night.
Detroit scored in the second inning on Victor Martinez’s homer but didn’t bring home any of their next 11 baserunners. The Tigers hit into two double plays and stranded nine while they lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
The Tigers also lost outfielder Tyler Collins after he was hit in the knee with a 99 mph pitch by Yordano Ventura. Detroit already has three everyday starters on the disabled list along with two members of their starting rotation.
“I’m not whining — we have to come out and win a game tomorrow,” Ausmus said. “They came up with big hits late tonight and we didn’t. That was the difference.”
Sanchez was the one bright spot, especially after allowing eight runs in four innings in his previous start. He struck out six and walked two Wednesday.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen Anibal Sanchez throw the ball,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I had seen what he had done in his last start, but I know that when he’s on, he has ridiculous command of his fastball and a phenomenal changeup. That’s what he had tonight.”
“Today, everything was coming out good,” he said. “I felt good all game, and I just wanted to keep the score at 1-0. I wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter.”
Eric Hosmer, though, ruined Detroit’s night with his last three plate appearances.
He walked in the fifth inning to break up Sanchez’s perfect game, doubled in the seventh to end Sanchez’s no-hit bid, then hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the ninth.
“I don’t think we’ve swept a series here in my career — we haven’t even won more than a couple,” Hosmer said. “I’ve been struggling for about a month now, but it has started to come around, and tonight felt really good.”
Justin Wilson replaced Sanchez for the eighth with a 1-0 lead and allowed a tying homer to Alex Gordon on his first pitch.
In the ninth, Shane Greene (2-3) allowed a one-out single to Lorenzo Cain before Hosmer’s line drive into the right-field stands. Drew Butera added an RBI single later in the inning.
“I made a bad pitch to a good hitter,” Greene said. “It was a cutter and I tried to get too perfect with it. It happens.”
Matt Strahm (1-0) got his first career win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
The Royals didn’t come close to getting a runner in the first four innings, but Hosmer and Gordon both drew walks in the fifth.
Sanchez got through the inning without a hit, but was already at 80 pitches, and he came into the game having allowed a 1.080 OPS after his 75th pitch.
Sanchez got through the sixth on eight pitches, then retired the first two batters in the seventh without trouble, but Hosmer lined a first-pitch curveball into the left-center field gap to end the drama.
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera returned after sitting out Tuesday’s loss with a strained left biceps. He didn’t look entirely comfortable, shaking his arm after swings, but hit a 112 mph groundball in the third inning, per Statcast. ... Ausmus said Collins is expected to miss a few games. The Tigers optioned outfielder Steven Moya to Triple-A Toledo after the game, and are expected to call up a center fielder.
Erick Aybar got a loud cheer from the Comerica Park crowd when he batted for the first time as a Tiger - a change from his usual greeting in Detroit. In 2011, Aybar bunted to try to break up Justin Verlander’s no-hitter in the eighth inning, drawing an angry response from both the Tigers ace and the fans.
Verlander joked that the Tigers trading for Aybar on Tuesday made him glad he didn’t retaliate.
“I told him I was going to hit him, but I never did,” Verlander said. “So that will make things easier in the clubhouse.”
Royals: Kansas City returns home to start a four-game series with the Twins on Thursday night. Dillon Gee (4-6, 4.78) is scheduled to start against Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey (8-8, 5.71).
Tigers: Detroit plays Boston on Thursday in the first of a four-game series. Matt Boyd (4-2, 4.16) faces Clay Buchholz (4-9. 5.66) in a game being played during the afternoon because of a Detroit Lions exhibition game at nearby Ford Field in the evening.