Friday, May 23, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Tigers 7, Rangers 2
By Richard Durrett
DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers quickly erased a 2-0 Rangers lead and cruised to a 7-2 victory on Friday night at Comerica Park. Some quick thoughts:
How it happened: Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed three straight hits in the second to fall behind 2-0 before settling down and getting some support from his offense. Sanchez got 14 of his next 15 batters out as the Tigers built a 6-2 lead through six. He ended up allowing just the two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Scott Baker, meanwhile, gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings.
What it means: The Tigers evened the series at a game each with two games left and ended a four-game losing streak. The Rangers had crept to within a game of .500, but now fall two back and 7 1/2 games behind the Athletics, pending Oakland's result against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Up too often: Baker had too many pitches up in the zone on Friday, and he wasn't missing many bats (he had one strikeout and it didn't come until the sixth), as the Tigers took advantage. Even after the Rangers gave Baker a 2-0 lead in the second, he gave it right back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run homer by Austin Jackson. The Tigers added a run in the third and two more in the fifth off Baker, as well. Even the outs the Tigers hit were hard. We'll see if this means Joe Saunders gets the rotation spot next time through or if Baker sees another opportunity.
Kinsler kills it: Ex-Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had three doubles and scored after each of them on Friday. His first double went down the first-base line -- a rare opposite-field double for him -- and his second one went down the third-base line. The third, for good measure, was a fly ball to right field. Kinsler has four hits against his former team in this series.
Moreland's impact: Mitch Moreland put the Rangers in front in the second with a two-run double to left-center. Moreland's poke scored Adrian Beltre (single) and Alex Rios (bloop double) to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The two RBIs put Moreland at 17, one more than Prince Fielder. Moreland also made a nice play at first base, digging an errant throw from Elvis Andrus and preventing a run and Andrus' second error of the inning. With Fielder out, this is a big opportunity for Moreland to show he can handle the everyday job at first. He played well on Friday.
Big arm: Once again, catcher Robinson Chirinos showed off his arm. In the first inning, with the speedy Rajai Davis at first base, Chirinos made a snap throw to first after Kinsler took a strike. Davis was too far off the bag and could not get back before Mitch Moreland applied the tag. Just like that, a runner on at first with no outs was eliminated.
League-leading DPs: Rios grounded into his 11th double play of the season in the seventh inning and his 12th to end the game in the ninth. Rios, the Rangers' most consistent offensive producer and team leader in RBIs, leads the AL in ground-ball double plays so far in 2014.
Up next: RHP Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.28 ERA) is on the mound for the Rangers opposed by RHP Rick Porcello (7-1, 2.91 ERA) at 3:08 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1.