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Detroit at Kansas City

Venue: Kauffman Stadium
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The Detroit Tigers seem to be cruising to an AL Central title, and Anibal Sanchez is on the cusp of the matching a career-best winning streak.

Sanchez goes for a sixth straight victory Friday night when the Tigers open this three-game road series against the Kansas City Royals, the most recent team to defeat him.

Detroit (81-59) leads the division by 6 1/2 games on second-place Cleveland with 22 to play.

"It's all about winning games," third baseman Miguel Cabrera told the team's official website.

Sanchez (12-7, 2.68 ERA), the AL ERA leader, is doing his part to help the Tigers match a franchise record with a third straight trip to the postseason.

The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA over eight starts since taking a 1-0 loss at Kansas City (73-67) on July 19. He allowed one run with a season-high five walks in six innings.

Sanchez lost his only other outing there by the same score Aug. 29, 2012, yielding one run in seven innings.

Some help from the offense could be just what he needs to match his career high of six straight wins with the Florida Marlins from April 22-June 10, 2011.

Sanchez got plenty of support Saturday, when he allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 10-5 home win over the Indians.

That was the first of four games over a five-contest stretch without Cabrera, who has been hampered by an abdomen injury.

The Tigers could have used him in Wednesday's 20-4 loss at Boston, their third in four games. Manager Jim Leyland would like to get the reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner back in the lineup.

"He knows he can still be a force playing handicapped," Leyland told the team's official website. "And we've been very fortunate to play as well as we have, but that luck will run out at some point if he's not in there. We've been very fortunate, but I wouldn't keep counting on that.

"It's not to slight somebody else that's in the lineup. I mean, you can miss a good player. But when you're talking about the elite, they change the strategy."

Don Kelly has started Detroit's last two games without Cabrera, and he's 4 for 23 over his last 11 contests.

Cabrera, though, is 4 for 20 (.200) with two homers and three RBIs in six games at Kansas City this year. He had a .366 average with 10 homers and 40 RBIs over his first 47 games there.

The eight-time All-Star owns a .421 average (16 for 38) with six doubles and two homers versus Royals starter James Shields (10-8, 3.03).

The Royals are trying to remain a factor in the AL wild-card race, and they're looking to win for the 10th time in 13 tries. They may have gained an emotional lift Thursday, when they erased a five-run deficit before Mike Moustakas' walkoff homer cinched a 7-6,13-inning win over Seattle.

"Every game is crucial and extremely important," manager Ned Yost said. "We've seen our players do this the majority of the year. They don't believe if we're down by five we're out of it or we're going to lose the game."

That's also been the case with Shields on the mound. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last five starts, and that includes seven innings of a 3-0 victory at Detroit on Aug. 16.

Shields was superb again Sunday, matching a season high with nine strikeouts in seven innings of a 5-0 victory at Toronto.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Anibal Sanchez, RHP
2013 stats
151.1 Innings Pitched 196.0
12-7 Wins-Losses 10-8
2.68 Earned Run Average 3.03
45 Walks 61
163 Strikeouts 161
103 Pitches Per Start 109
Career vs. opponent
29.1 Innings Pitched 88.0
2-2 Wins-Losses 6-2
0.92 Earned Run Average 3.27

James Shields, RHP
Weather
weather image  Morning clouds. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
88°F66°F8mph/S42%9%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Detroit1st AL Central8467.556-7-3 L 1
Kansas City2nd AL Central8268.5471 ½ 4-6 L 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs James Shields
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Cabrera3816235.421
Pena135011.385
Jackson227036.318
Hunter43130011.302
Fielder175020.294
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Anibal Sanchez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Maxwell73102.429
Getz52010.400
Cain93000.333
Bonifacio103003.300
Carroll123014.250
 
Injuries
Detroit
PlayerInjury
A. AvilaHead
A. DirksBack
J. HanrahanElbow
J. IglesiasShin
P. McCoyHamstring
L. PutkonenElbow
B. RondonElbow
A. SanchezPectoral
J. VerlanderThumb
Kansas City
PlayerInjury
D. DuffyShoulder
L. HochevarElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 4KCKC 7-5Guthrie Johnson 
Apr 5KCKC 4-3Davis Downs 
Apr 6KCCHW 5-1Sale Shields 
May 19KCCHW 7-6Putnam Vargas 
May 20KCCHW 7-6Rienzo Ventura 
May 21KCKC 3-1Davis Quintana 
Jun 13CHWKC 7-2Guthrie Quintana 
Jun 14CHWKC 9-1Duffy Noesi 
Jun 15CHWKC 6-3Shields Rienzo 
Jul 21CHWCHW 3-1Sale Guthrie 
Jul 22CHWKC 7-1Chen Carroll 
Jul 23CHWKC 2-1Davis Putnam 
Sep 15KCKC 4-3Davis Petricka 
Sep 16KCCHW 7-5Surkamp Herrera 
Sep 17KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25CHW 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 26CHW 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 27CHW 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 28CHW 2:10 PM EDT