Seeing no need to continue streaking in any form, the Detroit Tigers ended a pair of streaks on Thursday afternoon. With timely hitting and solid pitching, they ended their own losing streak and the Kansas City Royals' winning streak in the process with a solid 2-1 victory.
Seeing no need to slow down, the Royals continued upon their recent theme, getting the first run of the game courtesy of a Billy Butler double for the 1-0 lead. Anibal Sanchez wasn't rattled, however, and hung in, keeping the Royals from adding to their margin in the next two innings.
After a day to think about their mess from the afternoon before, the Tigers' offense finally responded. An Austin Jackson single, Miguel Cabrera double and J.D. Martinez home run helped stake Detroit to a rare 2-1 lead.
Sanchez did his best to back the Tigers' modest offensive efforts up. Despite not collecting a strikeout and just one walk, Sanchez maneuvered through seven strong innings and kept Kansas City off the scoreboard save for the early barrage of doubles. Joba Chamberlain faced a bit of trouble in the eighth allowing the leadoff man to reach, but secured a clutch double play to end the threat.
Joe Nathan, who had struggled as much with his pitching as well as having a confident approach, came on and put away Kansas City. He showcased the dominating stuff which has made him one of the most feared relievers in baseball throughout his career, striking out the side for the Detroit win.
Top Tiger: Joe Nathan. Even though Anbal Sanchez continues to pitch well while J.D. Martinez continues to hit, it was Nathan's big day. After all of the messes, inconsistencies and other problems he's faced lately, for Detroit's closer to set the heart of Kansas City's order down 1-2-3 via the strikeout was impressive. Clearly, Nathan had an extra gear today, and got the job done. Perhaps this is the performance which can help him turn over a new leaf.
Bungling Bengal: None. There's been so much negativity lately, it's only fair to give that part of the spin a day off. The Tigers won a game they had to win against a divisional opponent preventing a sweep, and did so with solid pitching, timely hitting and a good day from the bullpen. If that's not worth celebrating for the fans, not much else should be right now.
Play Of The Game: Nick Castellanos makes a leaning catch over the railing in the sixth. Often criticized for a few notable mistakes this season in the field, Castellanos made a nice play in foul territory to help assist Sanchez in the sixth inning. With only his glove extended, he reached over and snagged a foul ball before nearly falling over the railing of the dugout.
Stat Of The Game: 1, the number of combined walks and strikeouts Anibal Sanchez collected and the number of runs the Tigers allowed. First, Sanchez. It was the first time in his career he did not collect a strikeout, but also, he wasn't prone to any devastating walks, either. Most of the pitches he threw were put in play, which helped his defense make outs and stay active. Second, Detroit is 10-0 this season when allowing one run or fewer in games. If they're ever able to get the pitching consistently, that usually leads to winning.
Quote To Note: "Today definitely showed some promise." –Joe Nathan. That quote speaks not only for Nathan himself, but the entire Tigers' team. After several miserable days and outings for Nathan, Detroit's closer finally did what he was brought to the team to do: pitch a clean ninth inning in dominating fashion. Credit him for getting the job done and sending the crowd home happy.
What's Next: The Tigers will hit the road for the next week starting on Friday night in Cleveland, where they'll kick off a three game series against the Indians. Rick Porcello (8-4) gets the ball against Corey Kluber (6-4) at 7:05 p.m.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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