DETROIT — Dixon Machado hit his first Major League home run and Alex Presley added a pair of RBI singles, supporting six quality innings from Anibal Sanchez for his first win since Aug. 23 and a 6-2 Tigers win over the Giants Custom Rams Jersey in the rubber match of a three-game series Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.
On a day when the Giants scratched Johnny Cueto with an inner ear infection minutes before his scheduled start, Detroit took advantage with five runs in the Kevin Pillar Jersey first three innings against spot starter Chris Stratton (0-2), who made his first MLB start. Though Miguel Cabrera put the Tigers in front with a first-inning RBI single, the bulk of the offense came from Machado and Presley.
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“Johnny was actually prepping to get ready for the game, and he got dizzy with his inner-ear infection,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “So we weren’t comfortable putting him out there in that situation. That’s Stratton’s job. He’s a long man, spot starter, so we had him available, which made it easier.”
Machado, getting a rare start at shortstop to rest Jose Iglesias, sent a drive deep to left off Stratton for a two-run homer in the second. He scored Presley, who singled home Nicholas Castellanos following Castellanos’ AL-best sixth triple of the season. Presley hit a two-out single the next inning to bring home Justin Upton.
That was enough for Sanchez (1-0), who continued his surprising renaissance as a starter by blanking San Francisco for the first five innings. Joe Panik’s RBI triple and Hunter Pence’s RBI groundout in the sixth broke Sanchez’s spell, but he still earned his first win of the season.
“This is three excellent starts in a row, and a good one at the start since his return from the Minor Leagues,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Sanchez. “He’s been impressive since he decided to go down and reset and become a starter again.”
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Machado mash: Machado had 162 plate appearances over 64 Major League games without a home run, but he had been taking advantage of his limited at-bats, going 19-for-50 since the beginning of May. He turned on a Stratton fastball inside and sent it 384 feet to left field, according to Statcast™. His Tigers teammates gave him the silent treatment upon his return to the dugout, but they eventually mobbed him near the helmet rack.
“I was just trying to bring the run in,” Machado said. “He left it up, and I made a good swing and I got it.”
Scintillating Sanchez: Sanchez used everything — from 93 mph fastballs to a 71 mph “mariposa” (butterfly) changeup — to set a season high with eight strikeouts, but his last K was the biggest. After the Giants scored twice in the sixth, Brandon Belt’s double gave the them more life and presented Sanchez with trouble the third time through the order. But with Jae-Gyun Hwang seemingly looking for another offspeed pitch, Sanchez fired a fastball at 93 mph past him to end the threat, save the bullpen for the seventh and seal Sanchez’s third Kevin Pillar Jersey For Sale consecutive quality start.
“It’s not easy to be on the mound and stop a rally with that part of the lineup for San Francisco,” Sanchez said. “And I’d say that’s big for me.”
“I don’t know if Disney will buy it, but it’s a good story, and it’s happening to a good person.” — Ausmus, on Sanchez’s midseason revival as a starter
“I believe God put the tools to me to learn how to pitch again, reminding me how I can pitch again. That’s what I can say was my whole process in Toledo.” — Sanchez, on what he learned during his stint at Triple-A Toledo
“I was in the middle of texting her, saying, ‘Hey, Cueto’s not feeling good there’s a chance I could start.’ And that’s when [pitching coach Dave Righetti] tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, get going.’ So she knew.” — Stratton, on telling his wife, Martha Kate, about making his first career MLB start shortly before game time
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Only Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon has more triples (10) this season than Castellanos. Tigers players have held or shared the American League lead in triples four times in the past 10 years — Curtis Granderson in 2007 and ’08, Austin Jackson in ’11 and ’12 — but no Tigers infielder has led the league in triples since Jake Wood did it as a rookie in 1961.
Giants: Having capped a six-game road trip, San Francisco heads home for three games against the Marlins, beginning Friday at 7:15 p.m. PT on MLB.TV with Matt Moore (3-8, 5.78 ERA) on the mound. Moore has a 3.77 ERA in seven starts at AT&T Park this season.
Tigers: The Tigers’ first half ends with a three-game series in Cleveland, starting with a 7:10 p.m. ET game on MLB.TV Friday at Progressive Field. Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 5.58 ERA) takes the mound in the opener looking for his first win since June 3.
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Jason Beck has Personalized Rams Jersey covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.