video thumbnail

DET@LAA: Sanchez tosses 6 2/3 solid frames vs. Angels

No longer preserving a scoreless-innings streak, Paul Maholm will focus on preventing a losing streak -- personally, and for his team -- when the Braves open a three-game Interleague series at Comerica Park on Friday night.

Maholm, who will oppose Detroit's Anibal Sanchez, began his season with 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the Majors' longest season-opening streak since 1966. That was snapped on Saturday, when he allowed three runs in the sixth against the Pirates and took the loss to drop to 3-1.

"I was going to give up a run," said Maholm, whose ERA rose to 1.03. "I'm not really worried about the streak. It was going to happen. I wish it would have happened in a game where we scored five, and I gave up three and we win."

The lefty is not a stranger to facing the Tigers from his days with the Pirates, having pitched against them in Interleague matchups each of the past three seasons and compiling a 2.60 ERA. But the Braves haven't played the Tigers since 2010 and have visited Detroit only once, in 2004.

Atlanta, which started 12-1, dropped five of eight games heading into Thursday's off-day, including a walk-off loss against the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon.

The Braves will have to contend with a familiar foe in Sanchez, who pitched in the NL East with the Marlins from 2006-12. The right-hander has a 5.42 ERA in 17 starts against the Braves, his highest against any club he's faced more than four times. Over the past two seasons, Atlanta has touched him up for a 9.33 ERA in four outings.

Sanchez (2-1, 1.75) has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his four starts this season, but is coming off his first loss, Friday against the Angels. He surrendered a season-high 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"We're going to play here, so we're still in the American League [rules]," Sanchez said. "It probably would be different if we had to play in the National League and I had to hit. It's going to be a normal day, so we have to prepare like we always do for any team.

"Right now, they've got three new guys. It seems like a new team right now, not the team that I've faced. It's a different Braves. They've got the Uptons. They've got [Chris] Johnson, [Juan] Francisco, [Jordan] Schafer. They've got a lot of new guys."

Braves: Healthy Freeman looks to reignite
• First baseman Freddie Freeman hit .412 with seven RBIs in five games before going on the disabled list with a strained right oblique. He returned for Tuesday's doubleheader and went 1-for-6 with three walks, then went 1-for-5 with an RBI double on Wednesday.

"I'm good -- everything felt great," Freeman said before Wednesday's game. "Obviously I wouldn't have come back if I wasn't. Usually you can't come back in two weeks, but I guess we got it under control real quick and I feel great."

• Third baseman Francisco went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, his fourth multi-hit game out of his last six. Over that span, he is 9-for-24 (.375) with three homers and six RBIs.

Tigers: Pitchers racking up punchouts
• Sanchez, with 24 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings, isn't the only Detroit hurler making batters miss this season. The Tigers staff has 193 strikeouts, the most in April in club history since at least 1921.

• First baseman Prince Fielder batted .337 with a .438 on-base percentage at Comerica Park last season, compared to .291/.386 marks on the road. He's back to his raking ways in his home ballpark again this year. Through his first eight home games this season, Fielder is hitting .375 (9-for-24) with a .541 on-base percentage.

Worth noting
• This is the Tigers' first Interleague series of the year, while the Braves already went 1-1 against the Royals.

• The Tigers hold a 9-6 lead in the all-time series, which began in 1997.

• Fielder is 7-for-51 (.137) against Maholm, and his .337 OPS is his lowest against any pitcher he has faced at least 20 times. Maholm has struck out Fielder 15 times while holding him without an extra-base hit.

MLB.com Comments