The Detroit Tigers had the opportunity to move into a tie for the second American League wild card spot on Saturday but fell short against a last-place team. The Tigers will try to bounce back and keep the pressure on the Baltimore Orioles when they host the Los Angeles Angels in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.
Detroit's players and coaches were not thrilled with the strike zone on Saturday night and had four total ejections in a 3-2 loss, which ended a five-game winning streak. The Tigers, who averaged 7.8 runs in the five consecutive wins while trying to take advantage of a stretch of schedule that includes three straight series against sub-.500 teams, sit one game behind the stumbling Orioles for the second wild card and are 4 1/2 back of the first-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The Angels are doing their best to impact the AL race and have a chance to win a second straight series on the road against a contender after taking two of three from AL East-leading Toronto earlier in the week. Albert Pujols is leading the charge and is 8-for-17 with a pair of home runs in his last four games, and had another home run robbed on Saturday when Tigers left fielder Justin Upton jumped to snag the long fly just above the wall.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Tyler Skaggs (1-3, 5.70 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (7-12, 5.83)
Skaggs is winless in five consecutive starts and suffered the loss in three straight. The 25-year-old failed to make it through six innings in any of those five starts and was reached for four runs on four hits and five walks in four innings at Toronto on Tuesday. Skaggs last saw Detroit in 2014 before going down with an elbow injury that would require Tommy John surgery and earned a win while yielding one run in 5 2/3 frames.
Sanchez will try to post three consecutive quality starts for the first time in his inconsistent 2016 campaign after yielding a total of three runs in 14 innings over his last two turns. The Venezuela native took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Kansas City on Aug. 17 and breezed past the last-place Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. Sanchez is still searching for his first win against the Angels and is 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA in five career starts.
1. Angels CF Mike Trout is 0-for-5 with three walks and three strikeouts in the series.
2. Detroit DH Victor Martinez, who was 1-for-1 before being ejected on Saturday, is 9-for-18 with six runs scored in his last five games.
3. Los Angeles 3B Yunel Escobar (concussion) is not expected to play on Sunday but could return as soon as Monday.
PREDICTION: Tigers 8, Angels 6
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