A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, hopes his Pittsburgh Pirates can provide him with some much-needed run support as he tries to continue his recent success against the visiting Tigers and avoid a fourth consecutive loss Wednesday night.
Sanchez (5-4, 2.38 ERA) allowed six runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Texas on May 18, but struck out 12 and took a no-hitter into the ninth when Joe Mauer singled in Detroit's 6-0 win over Minnesota on Friday."In the end, it's the result of my work. I try to figure out, to put my ball in the strike zone," said Sanchez, who no-hit Arizona as rookie with the Marlins in 2006. "It's a nice result, and I take it."
Sanchez's performance was more dominant than April 26, when he yielded five hits and fanned 17 in eight innings of a 10-0 win over Atlanta on April 26."It's not that I go to the mound and want to do something special, it's just that I want to go nine innings, go deeper, get a good command, get a good game," Sanchez said.
He's 1-2 at Pittsburgh (32-20), but has a 2.35 ERA. The victory there was a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 win Sept. 10, 2011.
Burnett (3-5, 2.57) overcame 10 walks and three runs on homers to Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in 17 2-3 innings to win three straight starts against the Tigers - including Game 4 of the 2011 AL division series with New York. He gave up two hits over six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win over Detroit (29-21) at PNC Park last season.
However, the right-hander is 0-3 in his last four starts despite posting a 2.57 ERA. His teammates have totaled five runs in those contests. Burnett allowed a two-run double in the second inning and two other hits over seven innings of a 2-1 loss at Milwaukee on Friday."When it comes to starters, sometimes you can't look at their record. He has pitched amazing this whole time," center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "The past few starts we've been unable to produce the runs to get him the win."
Neil Walker 's home run in the 11th inning was all the Pirates needed in Tuesday's 1-0 win to split the two games in Detroit. Walker had three of the six hits for Pittsburgh, which has won 14 of 18.
Walker is batting .429 (9 for 21) with two homers and four RBIs in five games since he went 1 for 16 in his previous five. He's hit .400 (10 for 25) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last six against the Tigers after going 3 for 26 (.115) in his first seven.
Paced by seven strong innings from Jeanmar Gomez , four Pittsburgh pitchers scattered five hits to hand Detroit its second loss in eight games. Ex-Tiger Jason Grilli recorded his 21st save in as many tries by striking out Torii Hunter , Miguel Cabrera and Fielder in succession."That's as good as it gets in any lineup in the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's why you have a closer."
Cabrera went 1 for 9 with four strikeouts the last two games, but still leads the majors with a .373 average.
Including the postseason, Cabrera is 4 for 22 with two doubles against Burnett.
Pittsburgh has won six of eight at home versus Detroit.
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 21, 2013||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Elbow inflammation|
|April 20, 2013||Octavio Dotel||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|May 28, 2013||Jose Contreras||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|May 25, 2013||Jose Tabata||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique - out 3-4 weeks|
|May 19, 2013||Andrew McCutchen||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|May 15, 2013||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Lower back discomfort|
|May 01, 2013||James McDonald||15-Day DL||Right shoulder discomfort|
|April 27, 2013||Travis Snider||Day-to-Day||Left side discomfort|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Anibal Sanchez spent six innings toying with the Pittsburgh Pirates , his electric stuff rendering the Pirates innocent bystanders.
When the Detroit starter finally wobbled, Pittsburgh wasted little time knocking him over.
Pedro Alvarez 's two-run double sparked a seventh-inning rally and the Pirates streaked by the Tigers 5-3 on Wednesday night. Travis Snider added an RBI double and Jordy Mercer laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to cap the four-run burst and abruptly end Sanchez's evening.
"I don't think as a team we ever check out in the seventh inning," Snider said. "We've had a lot of late comebacks we've had a lot of great rallies off bullpens and starters late in the game."
The victory was Pittsburgh's eighth of the year when it trailed after six innings and pushed the Pirates to a season-high 13 games over .500 (33-20). Bryan Morris (2-2) picked up the win in relief of A.J. Burnett. Jason Grilli pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 22nd save.
Miguel Cabrera hit his 15th home run for Detroit. He flied out to the wall in right field with a runner on to end it.
Neil Walker - whose solo home run in the 11th inning produced the only run in a 1-0 Pittsburgh victory in Detroit on Tuesday night - provided the only two hits through off six innings off Sanchez. The righthander looked nearly as dominant as he did in his previous start, when he one-hit the Minnesota Twins .
Sanchez retired 16 of 17 batters at one point and appeared to have all the cushion he needed when Andy Dirks doubled home Don Kelly with one out in the fifth and Cabrera followed two batters later by poking a 92 mph fastball from A.J. Burnett into the seats in right field for his 15th home run, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Watching Sanchez buzz through the first six innings on just 67 pitches, Detroit manager Jim Leyland didn't even have anyone up in the bullpen when things quickly unraveled.
Garrett Jones singled with one out in the seventh, Russell Martin walked on four pitches and the floodgates opened.
"It was kind of a freaky thing," Leyland said. "He just walked a guy and all of a sudden kind of lost it there momentarily."
Alvarez followed by driving a ball to the wall in left-center, scoring both runners. Snider took the next pitch and hit it off the wall in right with Alvarez just beating the relay throw to put Pittsburgh in front.
"We knew as hitters we had to grind," Snider said. "If he's going to make a mistake, it's going to be early. Pedro did a great job jumping on him early, so did Jones. Russell the same thing, getting on base. Before they were able to get anything going in their bullpen we were able to get to him in that inning."
Snider moved to third on a wild pitch, then darted home when Mercer's bunt stopped just in front of the pitcher's mound. It's one of the few times the squeeze has worked for the Pirates under manager Clint Hurdle .
"It was kind of surprising," Mercer said. "In those situations all you want to do is put it in fair territory somewhere. I was able to deaden it. It actually worked out really well for both sides."
Sanchez allowed five runs on seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out nine while his ERA rose from 2.38 to 2.79.
"I think I missed some pitches and they hit them," Sanchez said. "I take responsibility, that's part of the game. Before that inning I thought everything was working good, especially location."
Pittsburgh's late surge allowed Burnett to escape his fourth straight loss. The Pirates have struggled to support their ace this season and had scored just five runs total in his previous five starts.
The right-hander had issues with his command but managed to stay out of trouble until the fifth, when Kelly's leadoff walk started a three-run burst. Burnett gave up three runs on five hits, walking four and striking out four.
Burnett was long gone by the time Alvarez got things going. Tony Watson worked the eighth and Grilli - who struck out the Tigers in order in the 11th on Tuesday - stayed perfect in 22 save chances when Cabrera flied out.
NOTES: Detroit OF Torii Hunter sustained a contusion on his left elbow after getting hit by Morris' fastball in the seventh. Hunter said the pain made him "dizzy" but X-rays were negative. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson is likely heading to Triple-A Toledo this weekend while he recovers from an injured left hamstring that's had him on the disabled list since May 12. Leyland said he'd like to test Jackson's hamstring before activating him ... A Pirates season ticket holder provided Grilli with a fish tank that includes three small sharks and a blowfish. Grilli and setup man Mark Melancon have nicknamed Pittsburgh's bullpen the "Shark Tank." ... The Pirates are 24-1 this season when leading after seven innings ... The series concludes on Thursday. Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45 ERA) will look for his sixth straight victory. Doug Fister (5-2, 3.65 ERA) starts for the Tigers.