Three errors, a steal of home plate and a mediocre outing by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez paved the way to an 8-5 defeat against Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Sanchez, who is now 0-4 in his past five starts and has not won since April 28, yielded three earned runs in six innings. He was plagued by two homers — most notably a three-run shot by Odubel Herrera in a fourth inning that featured two errors.
Philadelphia’s Andres Blanco went 2-for-3 and stole home on a double-steal in the second inning.
Detroit (23-23), which entered with eight wins in the past nine games, scored three runs in the seventh on RBI singles from Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez. That trimmed the Phillies’ lead to 5-4 — but Peter Bourjos’ solo homer off Sanchez in the Phillies' ensuing at-bat proved to be crushing.
Sanchez (3-6) has allowed 11 homers this year, tied for second most in the AL. He was tied for an MLB worst in 2015 (29 homers).
Gene Lamont served as today’s interim manager for Brad Ausmus, whose mother, Linda Susan, passed away in Connecticut.
Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola (4-3) struck out six and walked one in six innings to earn the win. He relinquished seven hits.
Top 9: Saupold throws scoreless frame
Tigers right-handed reliever Warwick Saupold threw a scoreless ninth and struck out two batters.
Bot 8: Moya belts leadoff triple, but is stranded
Tigers left fielder Steven Moya hit a leadoff triple off Phillies reliever Hector Neris— yet was stranded.
It’s 8-5 Philadelphia entering the top of the ninth.
The Tigers’ eighth inning ended on a dazzling play by Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, whose throw barely beat Jose Iglesias at first base.
Tigers interim manager Gene Lamont challenged the call on the field that Iglesias was out at first base. But the call stood.
Top 8: Blanco's RBI double extends lead
Andres Blanco hit an RBI double off Tigers reliever Alex Wilson to extend the Phillies’ lead to 8-5 in the top of the eighth.
Cameron Rupp doubled to start the inning, then scored on Blanco’s double.
Bot 7: Miggy delivers RBI single, but Neris slams door
Miguel Cabrera delivered a one-out RBI single to trim the Philadelphia lead to 7-5, but reliever Hector Neris (1.38 ERA) prevented the Tigers from drawing closer with back-to-back strikeouts.
Cameron Maybin singled with one out and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Philadelphia reliever David Hernandez (2.42 ERA). J.D. Martinez drew a walk to set the stage for Cabrera, who is now batting .484 (16-for-33) on the Tigers' nine-game homestand.
After Cabrera's single, Hernandez was pulled in favor of Neris (1.38 ERA), who struck out both Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos on 87-mph splitters.
Neris has struck out 35 of the 98 batters he’s faced this year. He stranded two runners.
Castellanos fell behind 1-2, worked the count full, then watched strike three. He is 0-for-4 today with two strikeouts and left four runners on base.
Top 7: Late-inning pitching woes continue
The late-inning pitching woes continue: Philadelphia scored twice in the seventh to increase its lead to 7-4.
Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez threw 95 pitches through six innings, yet Tigers interim manager Gene Lamont kept Sanchez in the game for the seventh — and it proved to be costly.
Philadelphia's Peter Bourjos blasted a 91-mph sinker to left-center field to lead off the inning and give the Phillies a 6-4 lead. It's Bourjos' first home of the year.
That's when Sanchez was pulled and punched his glove in disgust as he exited the surface.
Tigers reliever Kyle Ryan entered the game in relief and struck out Odubel Herrera, but Ryan relinquished a single to Freddy Galvis and was pulled by Lamont.
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson entered the game to face Maikel Franco, who singled to place runners on the corners with one out. Tommy Joseph followed with a sacrifice fly to increase the Philly lead to 7-4.
The Tigers’ 4.31 ERA in the seventh inning or later ranks 22nd in the majors.
As for Sanchez: He entered today 0-3 in his past four starts and has not won since April 28. He gave up eight hits and six runs (three earned) in six innings, and his biggest blemish was a three-run homer in the fourth to Odubel Herrera. Sanchez finished with five strikeouts and one walk.
Bot 6: Tigers go down quietly
One inning after they scored three runs on five hits, the Tigers go down quietly in the bottom of the sixth.
Philadelphia leads 5-4 entering the top of the seventh.
Phillies starter Aaron Nola forced Steven Moya and James McCann to ground out, and Mike Aviles to popped out.
Top 6: Quick inning for Sanchez
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez needed 10 pitches to retire the Phillies in the sixth.
It’s 5-4 Philadelphia entering the bottom of the sixth.
The Phillies' Andres Blanco drew a one-out, four-pitch walk. Blanco, who stole home in the second inning on a double-steal and scored two runs today, tried to steal second base but was thrown out by Tigers catcher James McCann.
McCann is second in the American League in throwing out runners (10). Kansas City’s Salvador Perez is first (12).
Sanchez has been his typical up-and-down self. He’s given up seven hits through six innings on 95 pitches. He’s given up five runs (two earned) and has struck out five and walked one.
Bot 5: Detroit bats erupt in 5th
The Tigers struck three times in the fifth — all via RBI singles –and trimmed the Phillies’ lead to 5-4.
Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola was cruising through four innings with five strikeouts, but the Tigers brought eight batters to the plate and recorded five singles in the fifth.
Cameron Maybin hit Nola’s typically-deadly curve ball for an RBI single to start the fifth-inning scoring. J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez followed suit with RBI singles.
The inning started when Tigers catcher James McCann hit a line-drive single. Two batters later, Jose Iglesias (2-for-2) reached base on a weak-hit infield single.
Top 5: Howard fans again
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez retired three straight batters in the fifth, although the damage was inflicted earlier as the Phillies lead 5-1.
Sanchez has five strikeouts and no walks, but he’s given up seven hits and five runs (two earned).
In the fifth, Sanchez fanned Ryan Howard for the second time of the day.
Howard has always been known for strikeouts. He led the majors in 2007 (199) and 2014 (190). But instead of offsetting his swing-and-miss antics with homers and RBIs, Howard struggles at the plate as his major-league clock winds down at the age of 36.
Howard, who had four straight seasons with 136 RBIs or more from 2006-2009, is on pace for a low output. He’s driven home 18 runs in 41 games this year.
Bot 4: Nola cruises
Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola earned a 1-2-3 frame in the fourth inning as the Phillies lead 5-1.
Nola, a 22-year old making his first start against Detroit, has allowed two hits through four innings. He's struck out five, walked two.
In the fourth, he retired Victor Martinez (strikeout), Nick Castellanos (ground out) and Steven Moya (fly out).
Top 4: Errors lead to Herrera's 3-run homer
Errors will kill — as proven again.
Two Tigers errors led to a three-run homer by Odubel Herrera, who crushed a 2-1 pitch from Anibal Sanchez and extended the Phillies lead to 5-1 in the fourth.
Here’s how the miscues unfolded: Philadelphia’s Andres Blanco reached base when Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias could not corral a tough hop that glanced off his chest. That was the first error.
The ensuing batter, Tyler Goeddel, hit a sharp single to left field, which was bobbled by Tigers outfielder Steven Moya. Blanco advanced to third on the blunder.
Sanchez struck out Peter Bourjos (85 mph slider), but Herrera, who was hitting .423 with runners in scoring position, managed to blast Sanchez’s 86-mph slider deep into the right-field seats.
Sanchez, who is 0-3 in his past four starts and has not won since April 28, has thrown 75 pitches through four innings. He’s given up seven hits and five runs (two earned).
Bot 3: Iglesias strikes in third
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias was mired in a hefty slump, without a hit in the series, but delivered an RBI single that scored Mike Aviles to trim the Phillies' lead to 2-1 after three innings.
Aviles started the inning with a double to left field, the first hit of the day relinquished by Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola, who fanned three batters in the opening inning.
Iglesias followed with a sharp single that struck Nola and caromed into center field. Iglesias had three hits in his past 26 at-bats (.115) entering today.
Nola ended the inning by retiring Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez (two strikeouts) and Miguel Cabrera.
Top 3: Sanchez escapes trouble
The Phillies threatened again in the third inning when Tommy Joseph stole second base to place a runner in scoring position, but Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez struck out Ryan Howard to end the frame.
The Phillies lead 2-0 entering the bottom of the third.
Sanchez has relinquished five hits through three innings. He has three strikeouts (two vs. struck out shortstop Freddy Galvis) and no walks.
With two outs, Joseph hit a slow roller that appeared to be misplayed by Sanchez and led to an infield single. Joseph performed a delayed steal to fool the Tigers and move into scoring position, but Howard (.164) whiffed on an 84-mph splitter.
Howard, 36, is one of the few leftovers from the Phillies’ masterful playoff run from 2007-2011, when they reached the playoffs five straight years and won the 2008 World Series.
Bot 2: Nola an early nemesis
Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola is a nemesis thus far for the Tigers, who have yet to record a hit through two innings.
It’s 2-0 Phillies entering the top of the third.
Nola, who struck out three batters in the first inning, retired Tigers’ leading hitters Victor Martinez (.338) and Nick Castellanos (.344) to begin the second frame.
Tigers left fielder Steven Moya earned a two-out walk, but catcher James McCann grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Top 2: Phillies steal home
Was it Gene Lamont’s managing that caused an ugly steal of home plate? The Phillies successfully pulled off a double steal that ended with Andres Blanco sliding into home plate for a 2-0 lead.
Peter Bourjos took off for second base when Tigers catcher James McCann threw wide of the bag to Jose Iglesias, who had no chance to relay back to the plate to get Blanco.
Bourjos’ two-out RBI single gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead, a stretch of three singles relinquished by Sanchez in the inning. Ryan Howard (84 mph splitter) singled down the right-field line to start the frame. Two batters later, Blanco (84 mph splitter) singled to right field.
Lamont is managing for Brad Ausmus, whose mother, Linda Susan, passed away in Connecticut.
Bottom 1: Nola fans three
Yikes. Three up, and three went down swinging for the Tigers, who could not touch the devastating curveball of Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola.
It's 0-0 after the first inning.
Nola, who is 22-years old, struck out Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.
Here's an impressive stat for Nola: Opposing hitters are now batting .080 (7-87) in plate appearances that have ended with his curveball this season.
Top 1: Sanchez tosses scoreless frame
Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez struck out one batter in a scoreless first inning.
Sanchez fanned Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis (93 mph sinker), who entered 5-for-12 (three extra-base hits) across his past three games.
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (.254) hit a two-out, infield single. But Sanchez induced a foul-out from first baseman Tommy Joseph to end the inning.
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (3-3) ranks third among National League starters in WHIP (0.90).
The 22-year-old Nola, who is known for his curveball, has a 1.17 ERA in his last seven road starts.
Sanchez faces Phillies in 1st
Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez seeks his first win since April 28. He’s 0-3 in his past four starts.
In the top of the first, Sanchez will face Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera (.329), shortstop Freddy Galvis (.247) and third baseman Maikel Franco (.254).
Sanchez hopes today’s first inning is better than his last start when Tampa Bay scored three runs in its opening at-bat.
How to watch: Tigers vs. Phillies
The Tigers go for the sweep in their three-game interleague series with the Phillies Wednesday at Comerica Park riding a four-game winning streak.
Tuesday’s 3-1 victory featured a masterful 10-strikeout performance by Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who pitched eight scoreless innings while holding the Phillies to a mere three hits. The win pushed the Tigers back over the .500 mark for the first time since May 6. Reliever Francisco Rodriguez became the sixth major leaguer to reach 400 career saves while surrendering an earned run in the ninth.
Before the game, manager Brad Ausmus discussed the possibility of placing an innings cap on rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer. Detroit News Lynn Henning shared how 1968 World Series hero Willie Horton is quietly mentoring rookie outfielder Steven Moya.
1. Cameron Maybin, CF
2. J.D. Martinez, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, DH
4. Victor Martinez, 1B
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Steven Moya, LF
7. James McCann, C
8. Mike Aviles, 2B
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Anibal Sanchez, P
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Ryan Howard, DH
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Andres Blanco, 2B
8. Tyler Goeddel, LF
9. Peter Bourjos, RF
Aaron Nola, P
TIGERS VS. PHILLIES
What: Final of a three-game series
When: Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park
Pitching matchup: Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.23) vs. Aaron Nola (3-3, 2.85)
Local TV: FSD
Internet streaming: MLB.TV
Local radio: 97.1 FM
Satellite radio: Sirius, SIRI 212; XM, 176; SiriuxXM, 176 (Internet 849)