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Sanchez gains ERA title; Tigers lose to Marlins

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez secured the American League ERA title on Saturday night by tossing five scoreless innings against his former team.

And even though the Miami Marlins rallied to beat the Tigers 2-1 in 10 innings at Marlins Park, Sanchez was happy.

"It's no more about numbers," said Sanchez, who finished with a 2.57 ERA. "It's more about (being) healthy.

"I'm so glad for the title I have for the ERA. But in the end, this was about getting ready for the playoffs."

Justin Ruggiano scored the winning run after leading off the 10th with a walk and advancing to second on Juan Pierre's sacrifice bunt. Reliever Evan Reed then beaned Donovan Solano -- who was removed from the game -- and Christian Yelich worked a walk to load the bases.

Giancarlo Stanton then hit a one-out single to center to win the game.

Even though the Marlins have lost 100 games this year, manager Mike Redmond said his team's sixth walk-off win of the year was exciting.

"I was fired up," he said. "We just kept competing. The energy in the stadium was just phenomenal, and I think the guys fed off that."

As for Solano, Redmond said, "As of now, he's fine. We'll see how he comes in tomorrow. He"s as good as you can be when you get hit in the head with a fastball."

Sanchez and three relievers had combined to hold the Marlins to two hits, both singles, through eight innings. No Marlins runner had gotten past second base.

But in the ninth, working against Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit, Yelich hit a one-out single and Stanton walked. Logan Morrison nearly ended the game right there with a drive that was caught in deep right field.

Ed Lucas, playing one day after his wife gave birth to a son, then hit a single to tie the score 1-1.

"This is kind of the cherry on top of the last couple days," Lucas said. "It's a good experience to get a hit with two outs in the ninth to help us win the game. I'll be able to tell (my son) I got a big hit they day after he was born."

Sanchez allowed two hits and no walks, striking out eight. Of his 66 pitches, 49 were strikes. He pitched four 1-2-3 innings. The only time he got into trouble was the fourth when Chris Coghlan led off with a single and stole second.

But Sanchez got Solano to fly out and Stanton to bounce into a double play.

Sanchez beat out Oakland's Bartolo Colon (2.65) for the title. Colon pitched Friday.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said getting Sanchez the ERA title was part of his team's thought process.

"No question about it," Leyland said. "He got a great tuneup for his postseason start, whenever that is, and he won the ERA title, so that's a pretty good deal."

Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi also pitched well, allowing seven hits, two walks and one run in six innings.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who will be rested on Sunday, wrapped up his third consecutive batting title by going 2-for-4 and finishing with a .348 average. He has a huge lead in the race.

Cabrera, though, was robbed of a hit in his last at-bat when Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a stellar backhand pick in the hole and threw out the Detroit star.

The Tigers opened the scoring in the fourth when Prince Fielder walked, advanced to third on Jhonny Peralta's single and scored on Alex Avila's sacrifice fly to left.

With two outs and runners on first and second in the fifth, Eovaldi likely saved a run when he caught Fielder's line-drive smash. The ball was hit so hard that it made a loud "thud" when it landed in the glove of Eovaldi, who caught it while trying to get out of the way.

Fielder reacted by flipping his bat in disbelief and then laughing.

NOTES: The Tigers' loss to the Marlins on Friday night -- coupled with the Oakland A's win later that evening -- makes it official: Detroit will not have home-field advantage during the playoffs. ... Redmond will finish his first season as a big-league manager on Sunday, and he will do it against Leyland, who was Redmond's first MLB skipper. That was in 1998 when the Marlins lost 108 games. ... Redmond said Hechavarria is "one of the top couple of shortstops in the league, defensively." Redmond also said he thinks Hechavarria will be an All-Star one day. ... Marlins CF Jake Marisnick will have his left knee scoped on Monday. ... Tigers SS Jose Iglesias was in the starting lineup for the second straight day but said he was sore after missing one week with a bruised left hand. He went 0-for-2 on Saturday and was replaced by Peralta.
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