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Tigers fall in 10; Sanchez all but clinches AL ERA title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- When Anibal Sanchez escaped his only jam of the night, he pounded his glove with satisfaction as if it were a playoff game.

The stakes will rise soon enough.

In the meantime, Sanchez all but clinched the AL ERA title by pitching five scoreless innings Saturday for the Detroit Tigers, but Joaquin Benoit blew a save and they lost to the Miami Marlins 2-1 in 10 innings.

Sanchez lowered his ERA from 2.64 to 2.57 to increase a slim lead. Oakland's Bartolo Colon ranks second at 2.65 followed by Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma at 2.66, and both have pitched their final game of the regular season.

"I'm happy for the ERA title," Sanchez said. "But it's not about numbers. It's about getting ready for the playoffs."

The AL Central champion Tigers learned Saturday their opponent in next week's division series will be the Athletics in Oakland beginning Friday.

"They're very good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "and we're very good."

"My thoughts are that we're going to win," slugger Prince Fielder said. "Obviously they're a great team or they wouldn't be in this position. It's going to be tough, but of course I think my team is better."

With their playoff slot decided, the Tigers' next-to-last game of the regular season was mostly about statistics. Miguel Cabrera, already assured of his second consecutive AL batting title, went 2 for 4 to hike his average to .348.

He'll be held out of the starting lineup in Sunday's finale, but his first series in Miami since being traded by the Marlins in 2007 has been a box-office success. The crowd of 28,750 was the largest since the Marlins' home opener in April.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead into the ninth before the Marlins rallied against Benoit. He blew a save for only the second time in 26 chances this year, which prevented Sanchez from earning his 15th victory.

"If it's going to happen, it had better happen now and not in the postseason," Benoit said. "Better to get it over with. But it's still not a good thing to go through."

"He just wasn't sharp," Leyland said. "I have no concerns about him whatsoever."

Ed Lucas singled home the tying run with two outs in the ninth, and Benoit loaded the bases before he got out of the inning after throwing 31 pitches.

With a runner at second in the 10th inning, Miami's Donovan Solano took a 95-mph fastball from Evan Reed off his helmet. The sound could be heard in the upper deck as the helmet flew off, and Solano slowly went to one knee, but then walked off the field.

After the game, Solano said he was OK.

"I felt the hit but I feel normal now," he said. "It got the helmet."

Reed (0-1) loaded the bases with a walk, and with one out Giancarlo Stanton hit a winning RBI single.

Sanchez allowed two hits, walked none and struck out eight to finish with 202 strikeouts. He faced the Marlins for the first time after spending the first 6 seasons of his career with them.

"The first day I got here, a lot of memories went through my mind," he said. "I didn't try to do something special. I just went to the mound to do my job, throw strikes and get ready for the playoffs."

Miami's Nathan Eovaldi, plagued by poor run support all season, allowed one run in six innings. He finished with a 3.39 ERA.

"I'm happy with the outing," he said. "I feel like I finished on a good note this year. I made my pitches when I needed to."

Steve Cishek (4-6) pitched a hitless 10th.

Jhonny Peralta, who returned Friday from a 50-game suspension, went 2 for 5 for the Tigers. They went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, stranded 10 runners and grounded into two double plays.

Sanchez retired his first nine batters. He escaped a two-on jam in the fourth when Stanton grounded into an inning-ending double play, then finished with flourish, striking out the side in the fifth.

Detroit scored its run in the fourth when Fielder led off with a walk, took third on a single by Peralta and came home on Alex Avila's sacrifice fly.

Eovaldi saved a run when he caught Fielder's comebacker with two on to end the fifth. Fielder lined the ball sharply into Eovaldi's glove, then flipped away his bat in disgust at his bad luck.

"If the ball had GPS on it," Fielder said, "everybody would hit .400."

Notes

RHP Jose Fernandez was chosen as the Marlins' most valuable player and rookie of the year in voting by local sports writers. ... With 11 strikeouts Saturday, Tigers pitchers have 1,415 this season, breaking the major league record of 1,404 set by the 2003 Cubs. ... RHP Justin Verlander goes for his 14th victory Sunday against Miami's Henderson Alvarez.

 
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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Anibal Sanchez throws five scoreless innings against his ex-team, lowering his AL-leading ERA down to 2.57. (USATSI)
Anibal Sanchez throws five scoreless innings against his ex-team, lowering his AL-leading ERA down to 2.57. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Miami

C. Yelich
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Detroit

A. Sanchez
IP 5.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 0
K 8
 
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5010012 .272
Torii Hunter, RF4010021 .304
   Don Kelly, RF1000001 .226
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4020010 .348
   Matt Tuiasosopo, 1B1000010 .247
Prince Fielder, 1B3100104 .279
   Ramon Santiago, 3B-SS0000100 .228
Jhonny Peralta, LF-SS5020003 .305
   Evan Reed, P0000000 .000
Alex Avila, C2001110 .228
Omar Infante, 2B4020003 .319
Jose Iglesias, SS2000012 .305
   Al Alburquerque, P0000000 .000
   Drew Smyly, P0000000 .000
   a-Victor Martinez, PH1000000 .301
   Joaquin Benoit, P0000000 .000
   Hernan Perez, 3B0000000 .200
Anibal Sanchez, P1000111 .000
   Darin Downs, P0000000 .000
   Andy Dirks, LF2010000 .257
Totals3519148  
a-flied out for Smyly in the 9th
Batting
SF - Alex Avila (3)
SH - Jose Iglesias (4)
RBI - Alex Avila (47)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Infante-Iglesias-Fielder
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Anibal Sanchez 5200080 2.57
Darin Downs (H,4) 0.2000100 4.84
Al Alburquerque (H,10) 1.1000120 4.59
Drew Smyly (H,21) 1000110 2.37
Joaquin Benoit (BS,2) 1211200 2.01
Evan Reed (L,0-1) 0.1111200 4.24
HBP - Solano (by Evan Reed)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 66-48, Darin Downs 11-4, Al Alburquerque 24-14, Drew Smyly 16-9, Joaquin Benoit 31-14, Evan Reed 21-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 3-3, Darin Downs 1-1, Joaquin Benoit 2-1, Evan Reed 1-0
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 16, Darin Downs 3, Al Alburquerque 5, Drew Smyly 4, Joaquin Benoit 7, Evan Reed 5
Miami Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Coghlan, LF3010010 .254
   A.J. Ramos, P0000000 .000
   Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
   a-Greg Dobbs, PH1000001 .228
   Arquimedes Caminero, P0000000 .000
   Steve Cishek, P0000000 .000
   b-Juan Pierre, PH0000000 .247
Donovan Solano, 2B4000012 .249
   Placido Polanco, PR0000000 .260
Christian Yelich, CF-LF3120210 .288
Giancarlo Stanton, RF4011122 .249
Logan Morrison, 1B4000023 .242
Ed Lucas, 3B4011011 .256
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS2000210 .228
Rob Brantly, C3000104 .211
Nate Eovaldi, P1000010 .065
   c-Justin Ruggiano, PH-CF2100112 .221
Totals31252711  
a-flied out for Dunn in the 8th
b-hit a sacrifice bunt for Cishek in the 10th
c-lined out for Eovaldi in the 6th
Batting
SH - Juan Pierre (6)
RBI - Giancarlo Stanton (62), Ed Lucas (28)
2-OUT RBI - Ed Lucas (4)
SB - Chris Coghlan (2, 2nd base off Sanchez/Avila)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Eovaldi-Solano-Morrison, Eovaldi-Solano-Morrison-Lucas-Solano-Morrison
Miami Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Nate Eovaldi 6711250 3.39
A.J. Ramos 1.1000020 3.15
Mike Dunn 0.2100100 2.66
Arquimedes Caminero 1100000 2.77
Steve Cishek (W,4-6) 1000110 2.33
Pitches-Strikes - Nate Eovaldi 101-65, A.J. Ramos 16-11, Mike Dunn 18-10, Arquimedes Caminero 14-9, Steve Cishek 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Eovaldi 6-6, A.J. Ramos 1-1, Steve Cishek 1-0
Batters Faced - Nate Eovaldi 26, A.J. Ramos 4, Mike Dunn 4, Arquimedes Caminero 4, Steve Cishek 3
Game Information
Attendance - 28750
Game Time - 3:33
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Tom Hallion