Published November 20, 2014
Anibal Sanchez was sensational in his last start. The right-hander tries for his 10th win of the season Sunday and tries to move the Detroit Tigers closer to a division title when they conclude a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
The Tigers are two games clear of the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central with only four games remaining. The White Sox conclude their home series against Tampa Bay today.
Sanchez fanned 10 in throwing a three-hit shutout against Kansas City on Tuesday. He's been inconsistent in his 11 starts with the Tigers since being traded from Miami.
This will be his second start against the Twins. On Aug. 13 at Target Field, he was pounded for 12 hits and five runs in a 9-3 loss.
Miguel Cabrera continues to carry the torch offensively for the Tigers. Yesterday, he hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning that proved to be the winner in a 6-4 final.
Andy Dirks and Prince Fielder each hit a solo home run while Justin Verlander (17-8) gave up just four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over seven- plus innings to win his fourth straight start for the Tigers, who have won five of six.
"One bad pitch or one home run can change the game, luckily I was able to keep the ball away from them when they did get guys on today," said Verlander. "I felt pretty good out there today and it's nice to get some space in the division chase, but we still have more work to do."
Cabrera moved into a tie with Texas' Josh Hamilton for the lead in the AL with 43 homers. Cabrera leads the AL with a .327 batting average and also in RBI with 136. He's trying to become the first player to win a Triple Crown since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Ryan Doumit hit a grand slam in the eighth inning for the Twins, who had won four of six coming into the game. P.J. Walters (2-5) gave up two runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over five innings to drop his fourth straight decision.
"We fought to the finish, just came up a little short," said Doumit. "They're a good team and they threw their best pitcher at us. Things just didn't go our way today."
Liam Hendriks, who gave up six runs in 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on Monday, returns to the mound today for the Twins. He's 0-5 with a 5.21 ERA in eight home starts.
The Tigers hold a 9-8 lead in the season series.