FINAL: TIGERS 6, GIANTS 2
The offense took early advantage of a Giants starter making his Major League debut and Anibal Sanchez turned in another solid performance as the Tigers went on to win the rubber match with San Francisco, 6-2.
With Johnny Cueto being a late scratch (ear infection), Chris Stratton nearly made it through seven innings after being summoned to make his first career start just a half hour prior to game time. The Tigers were still able to do enough damage early on to gut out the win. They put runs on the board in the first three innings, including three in the second frame, powered by a two-run home run from Dixon Machado, the first long ball of his career.
Sanchez worked through six innings for the second consecutive start. The former American League ERA champ has started to find himself since a stint in Toledo led to him returning to the rotation. He struck out eight and didn't walk anyone as he gave up two runs and five hits over six frames.
In the ninth, Justin Wilson set the Giants down in order in a non-save situation. Buster Posey flew out to shallow right field, Brandon Belt struck out swinging and Jae-gyun Hwang grounded out to second to end the game.
The Tigers head to Cleveland this weekend for a huge three-game series with the first-place Tribe before the All-Star break.
Friday's matchup: Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 5.58) vs. Carlos Carrasco (9-3, 3.50)
Bottom 8th: Tigers 6, Giants 2
J.D. Martinez singled through the right side of the infield with one out and moved up to second on a wild pitch from Kyle Crick. Nick Castellanos was able to bring home the insurance run with a single to center field that put the Tigers up 6-2.
Martinez moved up to second on a wild pitch, but the Tigers weren't able to bring him home as Alex Presley struck out swinging and James McCann did the same.
Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.
Top 8th: Tigers 5, Giants 2
Denard Span struck out swinging, Joe Panik lined out to second and Hunter Pence struck out swinging as Bruce Rondon set the Giants down in order in the eighth.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 5, Giants 2
Somewhat surprisingly, Chris Stratton came back out for the seventh inning for the Giants. He was able to get the first two outs by getting Dixon Machado to ground out to shortstop and Ian Kinsler to ground out to first. After walking Alex Avila, Stratton was shown the door having thrown 105 pitches.
Kyle Crick came in from the Giants bullpen and got Justin Upton to ground out to first to end the inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 5, Giants 2
Shane Greene entered out of the Tigers bullpen in the seventh inning and set the Giants down in order.
Brandon Crawford flew out to center field, Austin Slater struck out looking and Gorkys Hernandez went down swinging.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 5, Giants 2
Alex Presley worked a two-out walk from Chris Stratton (yes, he's still in the game despite a rough start), but James McCann grounded out to third to end the inning.
J.D. Martinez flew out to left field and Nick Castellanos flew out to center field to start the frame.
Stratton has thrown 94 pitches in his first Major League start. In an emergency situation, I'd say he's done a pretty good job, though odds are he's probably done for the day.
Top 6th: Tigers 5, Giants 2
Denard Span led things off in the sixth with a single to right field. He came around to score on a triple to right field from Joe Panik that brought home San Francisco's first run of the day and cut the Tigers lead to 5-1.
Panik came home on a ground out to second base off the bat of Hunter Pence, making it 5-2.
After Buster Posey became Anibal Sanchez's seventh strikeout victim, Brandon Belt doubled to center to give the Giants another runner in scoring position. Jae-gyun Hwang became lucky number eight for Sanchez, as the Giants' third baseman struck out swinging to end the inning.
Sanchez has thrown 93 pitches, and while his arm is capable of throwing more, that wouldn't be a smart move by manager Brad Ausmus. San Francisco started to pick up on some things in the seventh. It's time to turn this game over to the bullpen.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 5, Giants 0
Alex Avila drew a leadoff walk, but the Tigers weren't able to do anything with it as Justin Upton flew out to right field and Miguel Cabrera grounded into an inning-ending double play.
San Francisco starter Chris Stratton, who was summoned to the mound for his first Major League start after Johnny Cueto was sidelined prior to the game with an ear infection, has been able to settle in and keep this game from getting out of hand after a rough start. His pitch count is up to 81.
Top 5th: Tigers 5, Giants 0
Brandon Crawford became Anibal Sanchez's sixth strikeout victim, Austin Slater grounded out to second and Gorkys Hernandez grounded out to first as Anibal Sanchez continues to mow down San Francisco hitters today at Comerica Park.
Sanchez has thrown 73 pitches through five frames. It's conceivable he could toss seven shutout innings today.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 5, Giants 0
James McCann grounded out to shortstop, Dixon Machado flew out to right field and Ian Kinsler flew out to left field as the Tigers went down in order for the first time today against Giants starter Chris Stratton.
Top 4th: Tigers 5, Giants 0
Hunter Pence led off with a single back through the middle of the diamond. Buster Posey appeared to ground into a double play, but Dixon Machado dropped the ball on the exchange, though he held onto it long enough to get the lead runner. With one out, Brandon Belt struck out swinging. Jae-gyun Hwang struck out looking to end the inning.
Anibal Sanchez's pitch count is up to 59.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 5, Giants 0
Justin Upton led the third inning off with a double to left field, and just when it looked like he'd be stranded at second base, Alex Presley came through with an RBI single to right field to put the Tigers up 5-0. Presley was thrown out at second on the play.
Miguel Cabrera grounded out to shortstop for the first out of the inning, J.D. Martinez popped out to second and Nick Castellanos kept the frame alive for Presley with a two-out walk.
Giants starter Chris Stratton has thrown 54 pitches through three innings.
Top 3rd: Tigers 4, Giants 0
Gorkys Hernandez drove a two-out single back through the middle of the diamond for the first Giants hit of the day. Anibal Sanchez responded by hitting Denard Span before getting Joe Panik to fly out to right field to end the frame.
Brandon Crawford struck out swinging and Austin Slater struck out looking to leadoff the inning.
Sanchez has thrown 42 pitches through the first three frames.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 4, Giants 0
Nick Castellanos triple to the gap in left-center to leadoff the second, scoring on an Alex Presley single that puts the Tigers up 2-0 in the early going at Comerica Park.
Presley was able to swipe second base when James McCann struck out swinging, and in the very next at-bat, Dixon Machado went deep to left field for a two-run shot that puts the Tigers up 4-0. The long ball was the first home run of Machado's career.
Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila both made bids but came up just short of the wall in left field.
Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Giants 0
Buster Posey flew out to center field, Brandon Belt flew out to right field and Jae-gyun Hwang lined out to second as Anibal Sanchez is off to a good start in this series finale that the Tigers desperately need to win.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Giants 0
Chris Stratton found out he was making his first start in the Major Leagues about 30 minutes prior to game time. After setting down the first to hitters he saw, Stratton walked Justin Upton and was given the ominous duty of facing Miguel Cabrera with a man on base. Well, Cabrera welcomed the youngster to the mound with an RBI single back through the middle of the diamond to put the Tigers on top 1-0.
Ian Kinsler grounded out to third and Alex Avila grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Giants 0
Denard Span flew out to shallow left field, Joe Panik grounded out to second and Hunter Pence struck out swinging as Anibal Sanchez set the Giants down in order on just 13 pitches.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Panik, 2B
3. Hunter Pence, DH
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Brandon Belt, 1B
6. Jae-gyun Hwang, 3B
7. Brandon Crawford, SS
8. Austin Slater, LF
9. Gorkys Hernandez, RF
P. Johnny Cueto, RH
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Alex Avila, 1B
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. Alex Presley, CF
8. James McCann, C
9. Dixon Machado, SS
P. Anibal Sanchez, RH
IN THE NEWS
Some pregame reading to get you geared up for the game: