Sanchez pitches well, but Santana was better

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — Anibal Sanchez pitched well enough to win on most nights. Ervin Santana was just better on this one.
Santana, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland combined on a two-hitter as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Friday.
Sanchez was the tough-luck loser as the Royals snapped a five-game losing streak.
Alex Gordon led off the Royals’ first with a single to right, stole second with one out and scored on Billy Butler’s ground-ball single to center on a hanging slider on an 0-2 pitch.
That was the only run Sanchez (7-7) would allow in six innings, but that was one too many.
“My command today wasn’t the best,” the right-hander said. “A lot of times I was behind. I just tried to throw my best pitch. I felt good, I felt healthy. I was strong all day long. I finished my game strong.
“I kept the score right there. You have to give them credit sometimes. Santana threw a good ballgame.”
The Tigers managed just two singles off Santana and did not have a runner reach second base.
“He’s a very good pitcher,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He doesn’t give you anything and he knows how to pitch and he’s got very good stuff. I really liked him when he was with the Angels. He’s always been a pitcher I’ve liked.”
Sanchez, who was making his third start since coming off the disabled list with a shoulder strain, left after 101 pitches, allowing four singles, walking five and striking out three.
The Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth on Butler’s single and walks to Mike Moustakas and David Lough, but failed to score as Alcides Escobar struck out to end the inning.
“That was the big play of the game,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t want to allow any more runs.”
Santana (6-6), who was coming off his worst outing of the season, when he allowed eight runs on 10 hits in a July 11 loss at Cleveland, retired the first 10 Tigers before Torii Hunter’s one-out single in the fourth.
Herrera, who was just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, replaced Santana in the eighth after he walked Jhonny Peralta with one out. Herrera retired Andy Dirks on a grounder and struck out Alex Avila looking.
Holland worked a flawless ninth for his 23rd save in 25 opportunities, striking out one.
The Royals are 4-2 against the American League Central Division-leading Tigers, with five of the games decided by two or less runs.
The Tigers were shut out for the seventh time this season, three of them by 1-0.
Hunter flied out to the center-field fence in the first and singled in the fourth for half of the Detroit hits.
“We hit the ball hard,” Hunter said. “It just didn’t work out. Coming off four days off there might have been a little bit of rust. Santana had that good fastball. His slider was working. His fastball was working. He was throwing 94, 95 with his fastball. You’ve got to tip your cap. We just didn’t have it.”
Notes: 2B Chris Getz, who was recalled after hitting .313 in 14 games with Triple-A Omaha, started Friday. He went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout. … Tigers IF Omar Infante, who went on the disabled list July 4, will link up with the club Saturday for an evaluation of his sprained left ankle. He has been rehabbing at the Tigers’ facility in Lakeland, Fla. … RHP Justin Verlander, who starts Saturday, has a 0.64 ERA in two games this season against the Royals, but no decisions. The Royals will counter with RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who is 5-2 in seven home starts this season. .The Tigers fell to 9-12 in one-run games.