CHICAGO (AP)—The Detroit Tigers keep on winning, even without Miguel Cabrera.
Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter homered, and Anibal Sanchez pitched six scoreless innings to help the Tigers overcome Cabrera’s latest absence in a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Cabrera, the reigning AL MVP and baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years last season, left Monday’s game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a left hip flexor injury. He hasn’t played since and might sit out Thursday, too, when the Tigers go for a four-game sweep and their fifth straight win.
Sanchez (8-7) earned his first win since July 6, allowing six hits and striking out five. The right-hander had only allowed five earned runs in his previous two starts, both losses, but continued Detroit’s strong starting pitching during the series.
In three games, Tigers starters have pitched 21 innings and allowed two runs, giving the Cabrera-less lineup room to breathe.
”We need (Cabrera) on the end,” Sanchez said. “He’s a big piece of the lineup and we need to try to play hard without him.”
They did just that Wednesday, hitting three homers off John Danks (2-8) despite not having Cabrera, who is hitting .358 with 31 homers and 96 RBIs.
”It falls squarely on me. This is no one else’s fault. It was just one of those nights,” Danks said. ”There is no other way to explain it, just wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do.
”That’s just the way it goes. I understand what happened. I understand adjustments need to be made, and we will work on it.”
Fielder gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first with his 17th home run. Hunter reached on a fielder’s choice, and Matt Tuiasosopo walked before Fielder hit a 1-0 pitch into deep right-center field for his first homer since July 10.
Danks retired the first two batters in the second before Jackson hooked the first pitch around the foul pole in left to make it 4-0.
In the fifth, Hunter hit his ninth homer to give Detroit a 5-0 lead. Hunter went 2 for 5, improving to .354 in July.
Over three games against left-handed starters Chris Sale, Hector Santiago, and Danks, Detroit has scored 11 earned runs.
”Well, I mean, yeah, we did a good job,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ”Prince has hit lefties real good. He got us off to a great start.”
That was enough to propel Sanchez and Detroit past Chicago, which dropped to 20 games below .500 for the first time Sept. 26, 2007. The White Sox are a season-high 16 games out of first place.
Danks lost his second straight start and is winless since July 2. He worked seven innings and matched his season high by giving up six runs along with 11 hits - including the three home runs to give him 17 allowed this season in 12 starts.
”It was a tough game. Kind of a frustrating game,” Danks said. ”Hard to make the ball do what I wanted it to and hard to get it where I wanted it to be.”
Nights like Wednesday are why the White Sox are expected to be sellers before the July 31 trade deadline.
”There are a lot of things floating out there that make it more difficult for guys to just play baseball,” Ventura said. ”I think subconsciously it is in there. Whether you like to think so or not, it’s there, because everything is floating out there. I’ll be glad when it turns August.”
By then, Cabrera should be back for the Tigers. Not that they need to rush him back the way the offense has been without him.
”That’s good because that gives him more chance to recover (from) the soreness he’s got,” Sanchez said.
NOTES: RHP Jair Jurrjens signed a Triple-A contract and will join Detroit’s affiliate Toledo on Friday. Jurrjens started his career with the Tigers in 2007 and spent five seasons with Atlanta before signing with Baltimore. He made two appearances this season before becoming a free agent on July 18. … Leyland said 2B Ramon Santiago would start Thursday. … Both White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy and right fielder Alex Rios addressed trade speculation surrounding them. Peavy, bothered by sore ribs after his Saturday start, said he is ”pretty abreast” of what’s happening and won’t ”be caught off guard” if he is traded. Rios said he doesn’t ”have people asking me or telling me what is going on” and he has ”no idea” what will happen. … White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham missed his fourth straight game with a strained left wrist sustained Friday. He took soft tosses. … White Sox RHP Jesse Crain, out since July 3 with a strained right shoulder, played catch and said he felt OK. … Thursday’s pitching matchup features two former Cy Young Award winners, with Detroit’s Justin Verlander (10-7, 3.69) facing Peavy (7-4, 4.19).