Angels blank Tigers on 4 hits to win series

Angels blank Tigers on 4 hits to win series

DETROIT -- The Angels completed their spoiler road trip with their second consecutive series win over an American League postseason contender. Tyler Skaggs silenced the Tigers for six scoreless innings Sunday, sending the Angels to a 5-0 win in the rubber match of a three-game weekend set at Comerica Park.

Hours after the Tigers lost two batters, manager Brad Ausmus and hitting coach Wally Joyner to ejections for arguing balls and strikes on Saturday, they were back at full strength, but it made little difference. Skaggs (2-3) struck out six batters, all swinging, while allowing one runner to reach scoring position to earn his first victory -- and first quality start -- since tossing seven shutout innings at Kansas City on July 26.

"Pretty much it was just fastball-curveball today," Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said of Skaggs. "He's [throwing] over the top, and after that curveball, he was throwing that high fastball that was pretty tough to lay off. He was hitting his spots."

Scoreless start snaps tough stretch for Skaggs

Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez (7-13) kept pace for a while, allowing two singles and a hit batter over his first four innings, but the Angels roughed him up for six hits, two sacrifice flies and another hit batter over his final 12 batters, sending him to just his second loss in his past seven starts.

"I feel good today, physical-wise," Sanchez said, "but the result is what it is. I tried in that last inning to contain the score."

The Angels, who took two out of three in Toronto earlier this week, posted their first winning road trip since going 4-1 at the Mariners and Dodgers in mid-May. The Tigers, who have played 10 of their last 13 at home over the last two weeks, have lost seven of 10 at Comerica Park in that stretch.

Tigers not making most of stretch at home

Marte gets to Sanchez again: Former Tiger Jefry Marte gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when he took Sanchez deep to left-center field for a two-run home run. He homered off Sanchez earlier this season during a four-hit game in late May.

"I was looking for a good pitch and tried to drive the run in and was looking for a fastball," Marte said. "He just left the fastball right there. Made good contact."

Marte was glad he was able to do a little damage against his former team, which traded him to the Angels back in January.

"Of course, that's a team that I've been [with] before, so I try to do my best," Marte said. "I try to do my best every game, but when you play against a team that you were with before, that's something exciting."

Marte's two-run homer

Tigers miss early scoring chance: The only runner Detroit put in scoring position against Skaggs came early, when Miguel Cabrera doubled leading off the fourth inning. Victor Martinez's fly ball to the right-field warning track moved Cabrera to third, but Skaggs struck out J.D. Martinez chasing a high fastball. After a Justin Upton walk, Skaggs escaped with a Casey McGehee ground ball.

"They beat us. That was it. Bottom line," Victor Martinez said. "We didn't do anything to produce any runs."

Skaggs dodges the threat

Sixth-inning scoring: The Angels loaded the bases with three straight singles to begin the sixth inning, then Andrelton Simmons hit a sacrifice fly to score Mike Trout. Marte followed that up with a sacrifice of his own to bring in Albert Pujols. Southfield, Mich., native Nick Buss capped the inning off with an RBI double to right field.

"Two fly balls and a line drive on the line and everything changes," Sanchez said. "A couple of little things made the score one way."

Buss' RBI double

Lowe leverage: Mark Lowe entered in the eighth inning to continue his work to rebuild his pitching. He gave up a C.J. Cron leadoff triple, but stranded him there with strikeouts of Simmons, Cliff Pennington and Buss. Once he struck out Jett Bandy to lead off the ninth, he had his first four-strikeout performance since July 23, 2015, when he fanned four Tigers as a member of the Mariners' bullpen.

"I thought Mark Lowe looked as sharp as he has in a long time," Ausmus said. "His slider was on."

Lowe sits down Buss in the 8th

"I think it's huge for us. It shows that we're a good ballclub. We haven't been playing that well, especially on our last road trip, so it's nice to win two series." -- Skaggs, on the Angels winning back-to-back series against contending teams

"Sometimes it's not who you're playing, it's when you're playing them. And if you catch them when they're pitching well or they're hitting well, sometimes it doesn't matter what their record is." -- Ausmus, on losing the series

Sanchez's fourth-inning pickoff of Kole Calhoun was his first pickoff since July 11, 2014, when he caught Kansas City's Salvador Perez off first base.

Sanchez picks off Calhoun

What initially looked like a highlight diving catch from Cameron Maybin became a big sixth-inning single for Pujols when replay showed the ball popped out of Maybin's glove upon his impact with the ground. After review, the out call was overturned. Though Trout had retreated to first base after the call, standing on the bag alongside Pujols, umpires used their discretion to place Trout on second base. Both scored in the inning to help the Angels take command.

Pujols' hit to center

Angels: The Angels return to Angel Stadium for a brief three-game homestand against the Reds before hitting the road again. Matt Shoemaker (8-13, 3.98 ERA) gets the start Monday at 7:05 p.m. PT looking for his third straight win.

Tigers: The homestand continues Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET with the start of a three-game series against the White Sox. Matt Boyd (5-2, 3.98 ERA), unbeaten in eight starts since rejoining the Tigers' rotation in early July, is scheduled to start the opener.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for based in Detroit and covered the Angels on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.