Sanchez and Davis lead Tigers to 6-0 win over Cubs
DETROIT (AP) If Anibal Sanchez's slump is over, he owes a big thanks to Rajai Davis.
Sanchez pitched 7 2-3 scoreless innings and Davis had a big day at bat and in the field as the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 Tuesday night.
Davis had a double, a triple and stole a homer from David Ross, while Sanchez (4-7) ended a four-start slump that saw Detroit lose all four games while he posted a 7.71 ERA.
Sanchez allowed six hits and walked two while striking out seven.
''I started hitting the corners and keeping my pitches in the right zone for the situation,'' Sanchez said. ''I give all the credit to James (McCann) - I don't think I shook him off once all night.''
Jon Lester (4-5) took the loss, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
''He had good stuff, but they kept finding places to hit the ball,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''They weren't pummeling him by any means, but they never let him get into a groove.''
Davis led off the first with a double, took third on Ross' passed ball and scored on Miguel Cabrera's single to center.
The Cubs nearly took a 2-1 lead in the second, but Davis got the better of Ross again, reaching well over the left-centerfield fence to rob him of a home run.
''He saved the game right there,'' Sanchez said. ''The defense was good, but Rajai made the game with that play. That was amazing.''
Davis had his entire arm extended over the wall when he made the catch.
''It felt like I had some springs in my legs,'' he said. ''I don't know where they came from, but they were there.''
The Tigers expanded the margin to 3-0 in the fourth when Nick Castellanos drove home Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes with a single, although he was thrown out trying to take second. That probably cost the Tigers a run, as McCann followed with a double into the right-field corner.
Cespedes made Detroit's next big play, throwing out Junior Lake at the plate as he tried to score on Addison Russell's single to left.
''I saw Yoenis make a lot of those throws in Oakland, and I saw Rajai go over a lot of walls in Toronto, so it wasn't a surprise,'' Maddon said. ''I'm a huge fan of Sanchez, but if they don't make those plays, this is a different game.''
The Tigers then chased Lester with a two-run fifth inning. Jose Iglesias led off the inning with a single, but was thrown out stealing - the only out Lester got in the inning. Davis tripled and scored on an Ian Kinsler double before Cabrera and Cespedes drew walks to load the bases.
Former Tiger Edwin Jackson replaced Lester and gave up an RBI single to J.D. Martinez, making it 5-0, but the Cubs escaped without further damage. Kinsler's check-swing RBI single brought home Josh Wilson in the sixth.
Chicago loaded the bases with two out in the eight, but Joba Chamberlain replaced Sanchez and struck out Miguel Montero to end the inning.
Cubs: 2B prospect Javier Baez will miss 6-8 weeks after breaking his left ring finger in Sunday's Triple-A game for Iowa. Baez, considered one of the top-10 prospects in baseball, was hitting .314 with power in 37 games for Iowa after losing out the Cubs' second-base job in spring training.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander will make his season debut Saturday against Cleveland. Verlander, sidelined with a strained triceps muscle since spring training, threw 93 pitches in his second rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Toledo, allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings.
The Tigers and Cubs finish a two-game series Wednesday night with Jake Arrieta (5-4, 3.04) pitching against Shane Greene (4-5, 5.40). After a 3-0 start, Greene is 1-5 with an 8.14 ERA in his last nine starts, allowing opponents to hit .328 with a .575 slugging percentage.