Reeling Tigers hoping Sanchez continues revival vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO — Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez is eager to show his starting debut this year was no fluke when facing the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

Detroit will be trying to snap a season-high, seven-game losing streak in the middle of a three-game series.

Sanchez was solid in his first start of the season, which came Monday against the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers lost, but a silver lining was Sanchez’s performance.

Sanchez looked more like the dependable right-handed starter he was earlier in his career than the one last seen in the majors in a mop-up role. He allowed two runs in five innings in Seattle, which was seen as a positive.

“I thought he did a good job locating his fastballs, changeup was good, mixed in the breaking ball,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters. “He did a nice job.”

It’s a nice story, as well, if Sanchez can help the staggering Tigers save their season. Sanchez has been folded into the rotation after being shipped out and then brought back from Triple-A Toledo.

Sanchez rebooted instead of pouting in the minors and just maybe something has clicked. What’s clear is he’s pitching with more confidence and conviction than when he had an unsettled role in the bullpen.

“Sometimes you need to refresh a lot of things,” said Sanchez, who went 7-13 for the Tigers last year. “That’s what I did in my time in the minor leagues, figure out how I can come back and be successful here.”

His three-pitch mix allowed just that against the Mariners, although Sanchez said he had an assist.

“I just thank God that I’m healthy and I can work on something and that I’m able to pitch at this level,” he said.

Sanchez, when pitching for the Miami Marlins, made four career starts against the Padres, going 0-2 with a 3.09 ERA.

The Tigers are hoping to get on a roll before they are completely buried in the American League Central cellar. Consistency, among other things, have derailed Detroit.

“We definitely haven’t been able to put it all together,” Ausmus said. “It has been sporadic from and an offensive and pitching perspective. Sometime we do one well and not the other and occasionally we put it together. But the belief in the team hasn’t changed since the end of spring training.

“I haven’t given up and neither have they. Players don’t give up; that is not in their makeup or what their mindset is. When they are in the box they try to get hits and when on the mound, they try to get outs. The don’t give up.”

The Padres’ Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 7.50 ERA) is trying to find his footing in the majors, too. The rookie right-hander displayed his wipe-out slider in his last outing, his fifth career start, when striking out a career-high 12. No rookie pitcher has more punchouts in a game this season.

“Dinelson Lamet has like ridiculous stuff,” Padres manager Andy Green told

Lamet, who is facing the Tigers for the first time, became just the 22nd pitcher since 1913 to strike out at least 12 batters within his first five games.

“I think the slider was the differentiator,” Green said. “That’s the guy we want to see. That guy can be very successful in the big leagues.”

Lamet was originally scheduled to pitch in Friday’s opening game of the series. But the Padres wanted to split up Lamet and Miguel Diaz in the rotation, as neither have shown the length to preserve bullpens. So they put the more reliable Luis Perdomo between them.

Perdomo was keen on Friday in pitching the Padres past the punchless Tigers 1-0.