Tigers snap four-game losing streak
DETROIT (AP) – Ian Kinsler enjoyed this win over his former team, even if he tried to downplay that narrative afterward.
“They’re my former club, but I’m a Tiger now, and it’s just about winning games. It really doesn’t matter who it’s against,” Kinsler said. “It’s more fun, because I know those guys and they’re friends, and it’s always fun to beat friends, but other than that, I’m a Tiger, and I’m trying to win for this club.”
Kinsler doubled three times and scored three runs, and Detroit snapped its four-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Kinsler was traded from Texas to the Tigers in an offseason blockbuster that sent Prince Fielder to the Rangers. Fielder was put on the disabled list before the game with what is likely to be a season-ending neck problem.
Austin Jackson and Andrew Romine homered for Detroit, and Anibal Sanchez (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings. He struck out five without a walk.
Scott Baker (0-1) allowed six runs and eight hits for the Rangers in six innings.
The AL Central-leading Tigers were finally facing some adversity after allowing 31 runs in their previous four games. Their recent road trip included travel problems and a 13-inning loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. Then they came home and played a day game Thursday against Texas, losing 9-2.
“We probably were a little bit tired, but that’s no excuse for this ballclub, and tonight we just looked sharper,” Kinsler said. “We looked well rested and ready to play.”
The Tigers fell behind again when Sanchez allowed two runs in the second, but Baker didn’t hold the lead for long.
Jackson tied it with a two-run homer in the second, and Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera started the Detroit third with back-to-back doubles. Detroit scored two more runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Kinsler and a run-scoring grounder by Torii Hunter.
Sanchez, who won the 2013 ERA title in the American League, hadn’t made it through seven innings this season before Friday. This was his second start since missing around three weeks with a finger injury on his throwing hand.
“He pitched a really good game, especially once he got into a rhythm after the second,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We didn’t do a thing against him after that. He had a good breaking ball and he was keeping everything down. Give him a lot of credit.”
Mitch Moreland opened the scoring for Texas with a two-run double, but Sanchez allowed only two harmless singles after that. Baker, the 10th pitcher to start a game for the Rangers already this season, couldn’t hold off the Tigers in the middle innings.
Even Romine got in on the act in the sixth, ending a 2-for-35 stretch with a homer down the line in right that gave the Tigers a 6-2 lead. It was his first career home run.
“I knew that it was hard enough, I just didn’t know if it was going to stay fair, because I saw it hook, and obviously I had the best angle,” Romine said. “I’m thinking, ‘God, that ball better stay fair, because I don’t know what else I have to do to get a hit right now.'”
Hunter added an RBI groundout in the seventh.
NOTES: Rangers leadoff hitter Leonys Martin struck out three times. … Texas RHP Tanner Scheppers, on the DL since April 18 with elbow inflammation, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Frisco. … Detroit INF Danny Worth earned a decent amount of attention when he took the mound in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss and started throwing knuckleballs. Worth struck out two hitters, and manager Brad Ausmus said he’ll continue to be available in an emergency. “We talked to him today about throwing a pen every 10 to 14 days,” Ausmus said. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s an infielder, but if he can save our bullpen in a game like that, that would be great.” … Ausmus said Tigers RHP Luke Putkonen (elbow inflammation) is not expected to need surgery. … Detroit RHP Rick Porcello (7-1) faces Texas RHP Nick Martinez (0-1) on Saturday.