Tigers shut out Minnesota again in 11-0 rout
DETROIT (AP) The top of Detroit's starting rotation looks just fine so far - and so does the bottom of the batting order.
Anibal Sanchez helped the Tigers blank Minnesota for the second straight game, Jose Iglesias had four hits and Alex Avila scored four runs in Wednesday's 11-0 rout of the Twins.
Detroit had beaten Minnesota 4-0 on opening day behind star left-hander David Price, and Sanchez was impressive as well in his first start since Aug. 8. Sanchez was limited over the final two months of last season by a pectoral issue.
''He has a different look in his eye this year,'' manager Brad Ausmus said. ''It's like he's determined to do something.''
After losing Max Scherzer to free agency and trading Rick Porcello - and putting Justin Verlander on the disabled list Wednesday - the Tigers are counting on Price and Sanchez. Of course, they probably would have won this game no matter who was pitching.
Ian Kinsler drove in four runs for Detroit. Avila and Iglesias, hitting eighth and ninth in the order, reached base every time they came up - Avila had three walks and a single.
''I'm not trying to walk, but at the same time, I'm trying to swing at strikes,'' Avila said. ''A walk is just the result of sometimes not chasing and not swinging at balls.''
Even after Avila was taken out, the No. 8 spot remained productive when pinch-hitter James McCann singled in the eighth. Iglesias followed with a walk - the last two spots in the Detroit order reached base in all 10 plate appearances.
It was the first four-hit game of Iglesias' big league career. He and Avila also had two hits each in the opener, when Avila homered.
Sanchez (1-0) allowed three hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings while striking out six. Ricky Nolasco (0-1) gave up six runs and six hits in three-plus innings, walked four and struck out two.
Anthony Gose, making his Detroit debut after the Tigers acquired the center fielder in an offseason trade, came within a home run of the cycle.
Avila drew leadoff walks in the third and fourth, and the Tigers went on to big innings both times. Kinsler opened the scoring with a two-run single in the third, and Miguel Cabrera's RBI double made it 3-0.
Gose added a two-run triple in the fourth, and Kinsler followed with an RBI double that skipped past center fielder Jordan Schafer for an error. Kinsler came home on a wild pitch for a 7-0 lead.
''Leadoff walks are always going to hurt you a little bit,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''They were able to put together some innings and we weren't able to contain them after that. Iglesias got off to a good start, he got some hits, and Gose had a couple big hits, but it starts with both leadoff walks.''
This is easily the longest shutout streak for the Tigers to start a season since at least 1912. They opened with 12 scoreless innings in 1914, 1947 and 2004, according to STATS.
The Twins have never gone this long without scoring their first run since moving to Minnesota, although the original Washington Senators were blanked for 19 innings at the start of 1940.
Torii Hunter had harsh words for plate umpire Joe West after Monday's game, when West ruled Hunter swung at strike three in the ninth inning, ending the game.
''I think he had dinner reservations or a concert to play in,'' Hunter said that day.
On Wednesday, Hunter said he hasn't heard about any sort of fine yet for his comments.
''It wouldn't matter, though,'' Hunter said. ''I'm expecting it. I won't be upset. It was worth it.''
West umpired third base Wednesday.
''It's a bad call. It's over with,'' Hunter said before the game. ''I'm going to go on the field and do my job, and he needs to do his job. We've all got jobs to do, whether you make a lot of money or you make a little money, you're still supposed to do your job the best way you know how.''
Twins: Minnesota has been remarkably healthy at the start of the season, and the pitching staff shouldn't be too fatigued even after Wednesday's game. The Twins only used four relievers.
Tigers: Detroit announced after the game that closer Joe Nathan was going on the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain. The Tigers also officially put Verlander on the 15-day DL, a move that had been expected for about a week.
Detroit RHP Shane Greene - another newcomer to the Tigers - starts Thursday against Minnesota RHP Kyle Gibson.