DETROIT – Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays (39-50) powered their way past the Detroit Tigers (48-35) on Friday night, snapping the host team's modest four-game winning streak and evening the four-game series at one apiece.
Longoria reached base in all five plate appearances Friday, hitting a double and a home run while walking twice and getting hit by a pitch. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay offense jumped on Drew Smyly, scoring five runs and tagging the young lefty with his eighth loss of the season.
On Saturday the Rays will find runs much more difficult to come by, as Anibal Sanchez takes the mound for Detroit. Sanchez is coming off of his seventh quality start in eight appearances Monday and owns a sparkling 2.63 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The 30-year-old hasn't lost a start since April 21, posting a 5-0 record and 2.35 ERA over that span.
TV: 4:08 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN (Detroit)
Sanchez has had mixed results against Tampa Bay in his career, owning a mediocre 4.05 ERA in five starts. He beat the Rays in his only start against them last season, holding them to one run in seven innings.
With only one more start, against the Kansas City Royals, scheduled for Sanchez before the 2014 All-Star game, he will need to dominate the Rays on Saturday to keep himself in the running for his first career appearance in the midseason classic. Sanchez would be a lock to make the team if not for a DL stint that sidelined him for three weeks at the end of April and into May.
Tampa Bay will send out 25-year-old Chris Archer to oppose Sanchez on Saturday afternoon. Archer dominated hitters during June, recording a 1.95 ERA and 31 strikeouts but earning just one victory.
The young righty has seen Detroit only once in his career, a no-decision on June 29 last season. Archer surrendered three runs to the Tigers in the third inning of that game, including a solo home run off the bat of Austin Jackson. He lasted five innings after allowing three runs on five hits and three walks.
Tiger hitters will need to be patient with Archer, as he struggles with control in most of his starts. He walked four or more batters four times in May and averages nearly three and a half walks per nine innings.
Tampa Bay will play its final game in Detroit this season on Sunday night, with the game being broadcast on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball." The teams will meet again on August 19 for their final series of the regular season.