- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CLEVELAND (AP) - For his first three innings and final three innings Wednesday night, Anibal Sanchez was nearly perfect.

The fourth inning, however, cost him the game in Detroit’s 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Sanchez (3-3) faced the minimum of nine batters through three innings before his rocky fourth.

“Sanchez pitched well, except for one inning,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “There wasn’t much going on in the game.”

Corey Kluber (2-3) pitched a five-hit shutout for Cleveland as the Tigers lost their fifth straight to the Indians this season in a game that took only 2 hours, 19 minutes.

Sanchez walked his first batter, Carlos Santana, but got Francisco Lindor to hit into a double play. The right-hander retired the next six hitters, but unraveled for a while in the fourth.

Santana drew a leadoff walk and Lindor was hit by a pitch on the left elbow with one out. Michael Brantley’s single to right field gave Cleveland the lead. Mike Napoli’s double fell near the right-field line, scoring Lindor.

Sanchez’s wild pitch with Yan Gomes batting scored Brantley. Gomes doubled over Anthony Gose’s head in center field for the final run.

After that, Sanchez set down nine in a row. He gave up four hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked three.

Ausmus thought the two-strike pitch that plunked Lindor changed the complexion of the game.

“You don’t ever want to walk a guy and hit a batter,” Ausmus said. “That’s not a recipe for strong pitching.”

Sanchez retired 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.

“They took advantage of one inning, on a groundball and a hit by pitch and a rally by the next three guys,” he said. “That was the game.”

Cleveland swept a three-game series at Comerica Park last month and won the opener of this three-game set Tuesday night.

Kluber worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and threw 21 pitches in the inning, including nine straight balls.

Nick Castellanos singled with one out, followed by walks to James McCann and Gose. Jose Iglesias bounced into a force play at home, and Ian Kinsler struck out.

Kluber dodged trouble again in the fourth when Detroit had runners on first and third with nobody out after Justin Upton doubled and Castellanos singled.

Third baseman Juan Uribe fielded McCann’s grounder, looked Upton back to the bag and threw to second to start a double play. Gose struck out to end the inning.

Kluber’s escape seemed to carry over.

“That gives the pitcher a boost, but I think the whole team a boost as well,” he said.

The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out seven and walked two.

“He was using both sides of the plate with all of his pitches,” McCann said. “He shut us down.”

Castellanos, who leads the AL with a .378 batting average, was 2 for 3.


Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera singled in the first and is batting .500 (21 for 42) in his career against Kluber. Cabrera is hitting .349 (204 for 584) lifetime versus the Indians.


Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (sore right shoulder), on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo, is throwing at 120 feet. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list in March with a broken left wrist after being hit by a pitch. Maybin injured his shoulder after starting his rehab assignment.

Indians: C Roberto Perez (broken right thumb) could learn Thursday if he needs surgery when he’ll be re-evaluated by team doctors. He’s been wearing a splint on his hand since Saturday, when he was injured tagging a runner at the plate.


Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer, the team’s top pitching prospect, makes his second major league start Thursday night in Cleveland. He won his debut against Minnesota on Friday, allowing two runs in five innings.

Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer earned the win against Detroit on April 24 after teammate Carlos Carrasco exited in the third inning with a pulled hamstring. Bauer will be making his second start of the season.



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