Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DANA WAKIJI  |  Last updated 9/17/13
DETROIT -- If the Tigers are counting on their pitchers to get them to the postseason, they should be in good shape no matter what the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals do. Anibal Sanchez continued the string of good performances from the starters in Tuesday night's 6-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers' magic number is now six. Sanchez allowed just two runs on six hits in 6 13 innings, walking two and striking out 10. Sanchez didn't get the win because the game was tied at 2 when he exited, but he pitched well enough to win and kept his team in it until the bats could get going. "He's always good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He gives you everything he's got. He's got a good repertoire of pitches. He's a very, very good big league pitcher, obviously. Once again, he was vintage Sanchie, very, very good." The Tigers are 10-1 in Sanchez's last 11 starts. Sanchez himself is 7-0 with a 2.07 ERA in those 11 starts. Because Sanchez had double-digit strikeouts for the fifth time this season, his pitch count got up to 125. "I'm not tired, more frustrated that I got the lead twice and I don't keep the score," Sanchez said. "But at the end we win. That's the most important thing. If I got two more starts, I want to give my best, not for me, more for the team." The Tigers did not have Joaquin Benoit, Drew Smyly and Bruce Rondon available in the bullpen Tuesday so they had to turn to Al Alburquerque, Phil Coke, Jose Alvarez and Jose Veras to get through the game after Sanchez left. Alburquerque got the final two outs of the seventh with runners at second and third. Coke ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth. With one out, he walked Raul Ibanez. Then he appeared to have Justin Smoak hit into a tailor-made double play, but shortstop Jose Iglesias made a rare error. Coke then walked Michael Saunders to load the bases. Alvarez came in and got Mike Zunino to ground into an inning-ending double play. "Obviously, I was trying for a groundball," Alvarez said. "That was a good AB for the hitter -- a couple good pitches foul. If we don't make the play in that situation, it costs us the game maybe, but we make it and we take the win." Torii Hunter was duly impressed. "Jose Alvarez, man, came in with the bases loaded, and a crappy situation, and made gold out of it," Hunter said. "When he walked off the mound, I thought he was going to get a standing ovation, but we gave him one." Leyland was not unhappy with Coke, despite the walks. "He just got a little wild there," Leyland said. "We had the ball to Iglesias, and he probably usually makes that play, probably a double play. I think when he didn't get that one, then he started putting pressure on himself a little bit." While the pitchers were excelling, the Tigers finally managed to score a few runs late. The first two runs were courtesy of home runs from Don Kelly, his sixth, and Miguel Cabrera, his 44th and first since Aug. 26. "It's about time," Cabrera said. "It's been a long time since I hit a home run. Finally my swing is right again and hopefully it can be 100 percent the rest of the season. Hopefully we can go to the playoffs and be 100 percent." Hunter was encouraged by Cabrera's home run but even more encouraged by a few plays Cabrera made at third base. "I saw the play he made at third base, he came and got that ball," Hunter said. "I thought that was a good sign, because he couldnt do that maybe a week ago. "But hes getting better. Hes getting through his swing a lot more. That ball he hit was pretty impressive. I definitely think hes getting better." If Cabrera's better and the pitchers stay the same, all should be good in Tigerland. "We know that we have to take care of our business, go out there and win ballgames," Kelly said. "If we do that, we don't need to worry about what the other teams are doing."
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