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Wed, May 29, 2013 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Tigers-Pirates Preview

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Though Anibal Sanchez came two outs from recording his second career no-hitter last week, he seems more content with doing his part to help the Detroit Tigers continue their winning ways.

A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, hopes his Pittsburgh Pirates can provide him with some much-needed run support as he tries to continue his recent success against the visiting Tigers and avoid a fourth consecutive loss Wednesday night.

Sanchez (5-4, 2.38 ERA) allowed six runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Texas on May 18, but struck out 12 and took a no-hitter into the ninth when Joe Mauer singled in Detroit's 6-0 win over Minnesota on Friday.

"In the end, it's the result of my work. I try to figure out, to put my ball in the strike zone,'' said Sanchez, who no-hit Arizona as rookie with the Marlins in 2006. "It's a nice result, and I take it.''

Sanchez's performance was more dominant than April 26, when he yielded five hits and fanned 17 in eight innings of a 10-0 win over Atlanta on April 26.

"It's not that I go to the mound and want to do something special, it's just that I want to go nine innings, go deeper, get a good command, get a good game,'' Sanchez said.

He's 1-2 at Pittsburgh (32-20), but has a 2.35 ERA. The victory there was a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 win Sept. 10, 2011.

Burnett (3-5, 2.57) overcame 10 walks and three runs on homers to Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in 17 2-3 innings to win three straight starts against the Tigers - including Game 4 of the 2011 AL division series with New York. He gave up two hits over six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win over Detroit (29-21) at PNC Park last season.

However, the right-hander is 0-3 in his last four starts despite posting a 2.57 ERA. His teammates have totaled five runs in those contests. Burnett allowed a two-run double in the second inning and two other hits over seven innings of a 2-1 loss at Milwaukee on Friday.

"When it comes to starters, sometimes you can't look at their record. He has pitched amazing this whole time,'' center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "The past few starts we've been unable to produce the runs to get him the win.''

Neil Walker's home run in the 11th inning was all the Pirates needed in Tuesday's 1-0 win to split the two games in Detroit. Walker had three of the six hits for Pittsburgh, which has won 14 of 18.

Walker is batting .429 (9 for 21) with two homers and four RBIs in five games since he went 1 for 16 in his previous five. He's hit .400 (10 for 25) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last six against the Tigers after going 3 for 26 (.115) in his first seven.

Paced by seven strong innings from Jeanmar Gomez, four Pittsburgh pitchers scattered five hits to hand Detroit its second loss in eight games. Ex-Tiger Jason Grilli recorded his 21st save in as many tries by striking out Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Fielder in succession.

"That's as good as it gets in any lineup in the game,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's why you have a closer.''

Cabrera went 1 for 9 with four strikeouts the last two games, but still leads the majors with a .373 average.

Including the postseason, Cabrera is 4 for 22 with two doubles against Burnett.

Pittsburgh has won six of eight at home versus Detroit.

Tagged: Tigers, Pirates, A.J. Burnett, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Anibal Sanchez, Neil Walker

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