While the Detroit Tigers didn't set any offensive records Sunday afternoon, they got everything they needed to sweep the Colorado Rockies including good pitching and a timely offensive explosion in the midst of a 4-0 victory.
After the decidedly offensive feel Saturday night, the teams got off to a slower start on Sunday. Anibal Sanchez had four strikeouts through the first two innings, without giving up a hit until the third, while Jorge De La Rosa kept Detroit off the bases until the same inning. The Tigers took the lead on a Miguel Cabrera single, and padded it on a three-run shot from Victor Martinez.
Considering the work that Sanchez was doing, the sparse lead on De La Rosa was good enough. through six innings, Sanchez collected 12 strikeouts, the fourth time in his career he had racked up that many in a start. De La Rosa didn't allow a run after Detroit's early explosion, striking out six and giving way to Tommy Kahnle in the seventh.
Sanchez departed as well, allowing Joba Chamberlain to work the eighth. He did so in fine fashion, striking out two batters. Joakim Soria allowed a hit, but did finish the sweep and the Rockies off eventually.
Top Tiger: Anibal Sanchez. Continuing upon the lessons that Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello had set before him the last two days, Sanchez was excellent Sunday, keeping the Rockies off the scoreboard and for the most part, off the bases as well. His 12 strikeouts were a season high, and he commanded the game into the seventh inning only allowing two hits. Brad Ausmus was certainly impressed. "Overall, with the exception of the game in Oakland, this might have been his best start," he said. Why was that so? "He used his fastball perfectly today. He threw it for strikes, he threw it in, he threw it out, and all of his other pitches as a result were much better," Ausmus said.
Bungling Bengal: None. Detroit did what they needed to do during the weekend series, beating a struggling, injury-riddled baseball and simply moving on. Top to bottom, everyone excelled offensively and on the mound.
The Turning Point: Victor Martinez's three-run home run. With the way Sanchez was throwing, the Tigers didn't need much more offense than Martinez provided with his second three-run homer in as many days. The titanic shot provided the distance needed to win. "He never takes a second off when he stands in the batters box," Ausmus said. Since returning, Martinez has been rounding into form. "He didn't really have a slump, but kind of that non-Victor like post-injury series of games," he said. "Now, he seems to kind of look the way he looked the first three months of the season."
Play Of The Game: Nolan Arenado's throw out of Eugenio Suarez in the third. The Rockies' pain in the third inning could have been even worse if not for the play of Arenado, who made an excellent stab, then got up and managed to throw Suarez out. Detroit's skipper was certainly impressed. "He's an excellent third basemen, he moves well, has great body control," Ausmus said. "He's a legitimate gold glove third baseman."
Stat Of The Game: 6, the number of hits the Tigers collected off Jorge De La Rosa on Sunday. All six hits came with two out, including both decisive ones on the scoreboard. If two out hits get ballplayers to heaven, everyone who connected for the Tigers is heading to the promised land on this day.
Quote To Note: "I'll take three outs, no runs. Doesn't really matter if they get a single in there." —Brad Ausmus. Though Joakim Soria allowed a leadoff single and some solid contact into the outfield through, he got the job done getting three outs and finishing off the game in the ninth inning. According to his manager, that's all that mattered.
What's Next: The Tigers head on the road this week for a nine game trip which begins in New York. Monday, Detroit sends Max Scherzer (13-3) to the mound. He'll be opposed by Brandon McCartthy (6-10).
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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Tags: Anibal Sanchez, Baseball, Brad Ausmus, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Joakim Soria, Joba Chamberlain, Jorge De La Rosa, Miguel Cabrera, MLB, Nolan Arenado