Tigers win fourth straight, second without Cabrera
When the Tigers starters are pitching this way and their opponent is the cellar-dwelling Chicago White Sox, it's a little easier to live without Miguel Cabrera.
The Tigers defeated the White Sox 6-2 Wednesday night, their fourth straight victory, third straight in Chicago and second straight without Cabrera.
Cabrera missed his second straight game with a sore left hip flexor.
The Tigers are now a season-best 56-44 while the White Sox, last in the Central Division, are 39-59.
The only team in the American League with fewer wins than the White Sox are the Houston Astros, who are 34-66.
Anibal Sanchez followed up Rick Porcello's stellar scoreless outing with one of his own, improving to 8-7 by allowing no runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five in six innings.
"Sanchie dodged a couple bullets early and we were fortunate enough he got out of those and he went on to pitch very well," manager Jim Leyland told FOX Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson on the post-game show.
In the four-game winning streak, Tigers starters have allowed three earned runs in 27 innings (1.00 ERA). Two of those runs came on solo homers against 14-1 Max Scherzer.
Austin Jackson, who hit his sixth home run of the season Wednesday, had a nice view of what Sanchez was doing from his vantage point in center field.
"He was really good," Jackson told Thompson on the field after the game. "He kept guys off-balance with his off-speed and then he's 96, touching 97. It's tough when a guy's using both sides of the plate and getting the velocity up there like that and his off-speed stuff is really good, so it's tough. He's tough to hit."
Sanchez was relieved to have the early runs -- three in the first inning from Prince Fielder's three-run home run -- especially without Cabrera.
"With Miggy out, I know the situation. He's a big piece of the lineup and we need to try to play hard without him," Sanchez told Thompson. "That's good because it gives him more chance for recovery, he's not going to feel like he has to rush back quickly and make it worse. So right now we play good, that's how the team does it even without him."
The Tigers only have one more game left in Chicago before they return home to face former Tiger Delmon Young and the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend and then the Washington Nationals early next week.
While both the Phillies and Nationals are below .500, they're bound to be tougher than the White Sox.
So perhaps the Tigers can afford to give Cabrera one more day off, especially if his teammates can continue to score runs without him and Justin Verlander can do to the White Sox what Scherzer, Porcello and Sanchez did.
"We're scoring runs, the pitchers are throwing shutouts, it's a fun way to play," reliever Drew Smyly told Thompson. Hopefully we can keep it going."