By Jason Beck and Alejandro Zuniga
MLB.com |@beckjason |
DETROIT -- Seventy-five years after the Tigers and Reds battled for seven games in the 1940 World Series, their opener of a four-game home-and-home Interleague series wasn't much of a contest. Miguel Cabrera's two-run double and J.D. Martinez's third home run in as many days supported Anibal Sanchez's two-hit shutout in a 6-0 Tigers win Monday night at Comerica Park.
Sanchez (5-7) allowed a pair of early singles and four balls in play out of the infield, facing one batter over the minimum as he extended his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings. He retired the final 16 batters he faced following Joey Votto's fourth-inning bunt single against the Tigers' infield shift, sending him on his way to his seventh career shutout and first since May 24, 2013.
"Location I think was the most important thing today," Sanchez said. "I was able to mix the pitches. [Catcher James] McCann called a great game today. I give a lot of credit to him."
The Reds' misfortunes began in the opening inning, when right-handed starter Jon Moscot dislocated his left shoulder applying a diving tag in a rundown with Tigers leadoff hitter Anthony Gose. The injury not only began a procession of Reds relievers to cover the next 7 1/3 innings, but it also set the tone for an adventurous evening by Cincinnati's defense.
"It's tough," said Cincinnati manager Bryan Price. "The kid's worked his tail off to get this opportunity."
Pedro Villarreal (0-1) matched Sanchez for the next few innings until Yoenis Cespedes doubled over Brennan Boesch and scored on a Todd Frazier throwing error. Catcher Tucker Barnhart's errant throw in the sixth on Gose's second steal of the night became irrelevant when Cabrera doubled in Gose and Ian Kinsler. Martinez followed with a loft over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Martinez mashing: Martinez continued his power display to the deepest parts of Comerica Park. After homering to the center-field shrubs Saturday and the right-field seats Sunday, he found some the furthest seats in the park for his 13th home run, breaking the game open for the Tigers.
Immediate relief: Villarreal, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville earlier in the day, replaced Moscot in the first inning and limited the Tigers to one unearned run over 3 1/3 frames. Detroit scored in the fourth thanks to a pair of defensive miscues by the Reds. First, Boesch got turned around on a Cespedes line drive and the ball dropped for a double. Martinez, the next batter, hit a ground ball deep into the hole at third base, but Frazier's throw across the diamond was off the mark, allowing Cespedes to score.
Silenced bats: On Monday afternoon, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said speedster Billy Hamilton would be a "distraction" if he got on the basepaths. He didn't -- and neither did most of his team. Cincinnati managed just two hits off Sanchez, none after the fourth, and didn't work a walk. They're averaging 2.40 runs per game over their past five contests.
"[Sanchez] just threw everything for strikes," Price said. "Even late in the game, a 3-2 changeup for a strikeout. He was never in a count where he had to throw a fastball out over the plate. When he did throw his fastball, he executed it well, with good location. He's had it all going, he had it all going, and he did a really nice job."
McCannonball: Sanchez's run of 16 consecutive batters retired began with him erasing his final baserunner of the night. After Votto bunted his way on, the Reds had him running on a 3-2 pitch to Frazier, who swung at and missed at an offspeed pitch. Despite Votto's jump, McCann had enough time to get him at second, ending the threat with Jay Bruce on deck.
"I think that's the play that kept me in the game for the ninth inning," Sanchez said. "If I don't get that out, or that double play, I probably throw more pitches and they take me out in the eighth."
"It's like going outside on a sunny day and thinking that you might still get hit with lightning. It's one of those things where you're just going, 'What can we do to keep our players healthy and on the field?' It's been a challenge here for a while. It'll pass, but, in the time being, it's been a little more challenging than we anticipated." -- Price, on the Reds' injury situationMore >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In his past seven games, Martinez is batting .417 (10-for-24) with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
Moscot's seven pitches were the fewest thrown by a starter in a game this season. Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco had the previous low with eight on April 14 against the White Sox.
The Reds have dropped 13 of their past 15 road games.
The Reds nearly lost another player to injury in the fifth when Barnhart was struck with a foul ball off the bat of Eugenio Suarez while standing in the on-deck circle. Suarez, playing in his first game at Comerica Park since being traded away from the Tigers in the offseason, deflected a Sanchez cutter with a checked swing, and the ball hit Barnhart. The catcher fell, but quickly recovered and stayed in the game.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Rookie Michael Lorenzen will make his 10th appearance (eighth start) for Cincinnati as it tries to earn a split with the Tigers at Comerica Park. The right-hander has four quality starts but struggled Thursday, surrendering six runs (five earned) to the Cubs. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. ET.
Tigers: Southpaw Kyle Ryan gets his second start for the Tigers on Tuesday at 7:08 p.m. ET against a Reds team with prominent left-handed power hitters Votto and Bruce.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.