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DET@CLE: Torii tallies three hits, three RBIs in win

CLEVELAND -- Anibal Sanchez had a short evening, but Torii Hunter and the Tigers' bats made sure it would be a long one for Indians pitching.

Sanchez threw five sharp innings in his first start since coming off the disabled list, while Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder powered a hot Tigers lineup Saturday at Progressive Field as Detroit won its fifth straight, and seventh straight against Cleveland, 9-4.

Hunter, who was one of six Tigers named to the All-Star team on Saturday, including Cabrera and Fielder, went 3-for-5, falling a single shy of hitting for the cycle.

Hunter knows what happened to his single, though.

"I look at Michael Bourn making the diving play in center field," Hunter said. "It was a hard-hit line drive, and he made the play. That was my single. He ruined it for me."

Bourn robbed Hunter of that hit in the third inning.

Hunter's first-inning triple was the initial blemish on spot starter Carlos Carrasco (0-4), before Hunter added a run-scoring double off Carrasco in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth.

After going deep against Matt Albers, Hunter knew he would have one more at-bat.

In his last chance to complete the cycle, during the eighth inning, Hunter tapped a soft grounder to pitcher Vinnie Pestano, who easily threw him out at first.

"I was trying, trust me," Hunter said. "I tried to bloop it, but it just didn't work out."

Saturday's effort was vintage Hunter, who left Toronto's artificial turf feeling his age after validating his All-Star selection by acting like a younger player.

"That turf put it on me. Go run in the sand for about three hours and see how that turns out for you," Hunter said. "I know I'm 37, about to be 38, I mean, 27 about to be 28. Don't worry, I'm good."

Cabrera and Fielder hit back-to-back home runs in the third, doing so for the first time this season. Cabrera's intentional walk in the next frame marked the end of the night for Carrasco, whose fastball had long been drained of its 98-mph heat.

"That's what winning is all about," Cabrera said. "We did what we got to do. If we do all that, I think we will be OK."

Carrasco, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits, hung a breaking ball against Cabrera, and Tribe manager Terry Francona worried that was the start of a downward spiral.

"When things started happening, he started going to his breaking ball a lot, instead of continuing to pound his fastball in," Francona said.

Cabrera, who leads the team with 27 homers, will make his first career start at the All-Star Game this season. He is one hit short of Al Kaline's team record for hits before the All-Star break.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland indicated before the game that Sanchez (7-5) would be on a pitch count, and with the Tigers never trailing, that number wound up being 73 pitches.

"To be honest, I wanted 75 pitches," Leyland said. "Every once in a while, you run into one of those days where everything works right."

Sanchez, who had been resting a sore right shoulder, went five innings in his first start since June 15, allowing a run and three hits while striking out four and walking one.

Sanchez, who did not allow a hit until the third inning, faced only one real jam. In the third, Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs led off with back-to-back singles, and Bourn brought home Chisenhall with an infield single.

Sanchez buckled down and retired three straight batters to end the threat, stranding two runners in scoring position.

"I got a little worried that his pitches were going to get up there too quick, but it turned out just about right," Leyland said.

The toughest part for Sanchez wasn't keeping Tribe hitters off the bases. He said that pitching on a count was more difficult for him.

"I had the pitch count, that's what I worried about," Sanchez said. "It's really hard when you're thinking more about the [number of] pitches."

Only one of the final nine batters Sanchez faced reached base.

In making his first start in three weeks, Sanchez exceeded his manager's expectations.

"I was pleasantly surprised the way he threw the ball," Leyland said. "I did not think he would throw with that velocity."

Sanchez doesn't like working under a pitch count, but he knows it will be a part of life in the short term.

"It's part of my process," he said. "I am building my arm. I don't know how many I will have next time, but it's going to be better."

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