Tigers' bullpen crumbles in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Anibal Sanchez continues to pitch well for the Tigers.

Joe Nathan and the Tigers' bats continue to struggle.

The Tigers and Blue Jays combined for no runs and five hits over the first eight innings.

The Blue Jays broke a scoreless tie in the ninth off Nathan. The Tigers went on to lose, 5-3, tonight at Comerica Park. The Tigers have now lost three straight games and 11 of their last 15.

Nathan gave up a leadoff walk in the ninth to the Jays' No. 9 hitter, Anthony Gose, who then stole second. Jose Reyes followed with a single, giving the Jays runners on the corners with none out.

After Melky Cabrera popped out to short, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus came out to talk to Nathan with Jose Bautista due up. Bautista hit a grounder that got past shortstop Andrew Romine, allowing Gose to score. Nathan tried to pickoff Reyes at third, but replay confirmed he was safe. Nathan then gave up a walk to Edwin Encarnation, and was replaced by Ian Krol. Fans booed as Nathan walked to the dugout.

Pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar hit a sacrifice fly to center off Krol to put the Jays ahead, 2-0.

Al Alburquerque replaced Krol and gave up a three-run home run to Brett Lawrie, giving the Jays a five-run cushion.

It another superb outing for Sanchez, who allowed two hits and no walks over seven scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Sanchez has allowed four earned runs in 27 1/3 innings with 22 strikeouts in four starts since returning from the disabled list.

Sanchez is the only starter that hasn't struggled of late for the Tigers. He hasn't had a bad outing all season.

He has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his nine starts this season. He gave up a season-high three runs in a 3-1 loss to the White Sox on April 21.

Sanchez retired the first six batters he faced.

He gave up a leadoff double to Juan Francisco in the top of the third. Dioner Navarro hit into a fielder's choice to first. Miguel Cabrera made a quick throw to third and Don Kelly tagged Navarro before he reached the bag. Sanchez then struck out the next two batters, Gose and Reyes.

Sanchez gave up a two-out double to Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth, before Adam Lind lined out to right.

Joba Chamberlain used nine pitches to get three quick outs in the eighth inning for the Tigers.

Left-handed pitcher Drew Hutchinson limited the Tigers to three hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts.

The Tigers had runners on first and second with one out in the second inning, but failed to score. Austin Jackson flied out center. On a 3-1 count, Alex Avila swung and missed a changeup, then grounded out to first.

The Tigers didn't get another hit until Victor Martinez singled with one out in the fourth. Hutchinson retired the last 11 batters he faced, and right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Blue Jays.

In the ninth, Jays right-handed Steve Delabar gave up a walks to Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera and a two-out, three-run home run to J.D. Martinez.

Contact George Sipple: gsipple@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @georgesipple.


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