Anibal Sanchez hit hard in first start with Tigers

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Anibal Sanchez stumbled in his Tigers’ debut this afternoon, giving up five runs over six-plus innings in a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

Sanchez, who was acquired from the Marlins this week along with second baseman Omar Infante, allowed eight hits and three walks. This included a season-high three home runs. Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar both had solo shots while Colby Rasmus’ two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh chased Sanchez from the ballgame.

Sanchez’s season ERA jumped from 3.94 to 4.11 in the loss. The impending free agent has a 5.81 ERA over his last 10 starts dating back to the start of June. It will be interesting to see how he fares pitching in the more difficult league, but if healthy, his peripherals and track record both suggest that he should be a fine addition to the Tigers’ rotation down the stretch.

Henderson Alvarez limited the Tigers to five hits over seven innings of one-run ball en route to improving to an even 7-7 on the year. The Blue Jays have won three in a row to move within 3 1/2 games in the Wild Card race while the Tigers have dropped three straight to fall two games behind the White Sox in the American League Central.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.