Some extended time off between starts helped Anibal Sanchez record one of his better outings of the season. The Detroit Tigers hope a few more extra days of rest will be beneficial to the right-hander.
Sanchez tries for a second straight victory Wednesday night when he looks to help the Tigers even their road series with the Kansas City Royals.
Through five starts since being acquired by Detroit (69-59) from Miami, Sanchez (2-3, 6.33 ERA) has allowed at least five runs in three of those outings. He gave up 12 and 19 hits over 8 1-3 innings of his previous two starts before coming back on eight days' rest to give up one earned run, five hits and strike out six in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2 win over Toronto last Wednesday.
"I just feel great when I can control my pitches,'' Sanchez said. "I feel more relaxed, I feel more comfortable on the mound and that's what the result was (last week)."
Sanchez will make this start on six days' rest as he tries for his first road win after going 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA away from home since the trade.
Making his first appearance against the Royals (57-71), Sanchez hopes for a better performance after ace Justin Verlander was tagged for eight runs and 12 hits in 5 2-3 innings of Tuesday's 9-8 loss at Kansas City. Despite Verlander's rough outing, the Tigers rallied from an early 7-3 deficit to tie the game at 8 before Mike Moustakas delivered a tiebreaking RBI double off Phil Coke with two outs in the eighth.
"It's over," Verlander said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win, we battled hard and showed resiliency but couldn't quite squeak it out.''
It was the second loss in seven games for Detroit, which trails first-place Chicago by two games in the AL Central. The Tigers are two back of the final wild-card spot.
Austin Jackson had three hits while Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta each homered for the Tigers. Jackson, 2 for 21 in his previous five games, is batting .368 against the Royals this season.
Young, 6 for 13 with two homers and four RBIs in the last three games, has hit .438 (7 for 16) with three doubles and a home run against scheduled Kansas City starter Bruce Chen (9-10, 5.41).
The left-hander had won three straight starts against the Tigers before going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA versus Detroit this season. Though he was roughed up for six runs in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-7 loss at Comerica Park on July 7, Chen gave up two runs and fanned seven in seven innings of a 3-1 home defeat to the Tigers on April 17.
He is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in his last two starts overall. The most recent came Friday, when he allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss at Boston.
Moustakas and Billy Butler each had three hits for the Royals, who beat Detroit for the second time in nine games.
"It was one of those starts where we put together a good first inning and a good second inning and kind of held on from there," manager Ned Yost said.
Butler is 12 for 19 (.632) with four RBIs in his last four home games against the Tigers.