No team has used more starting pitchers this year than the Texas Rangers, and their latest choice had a difficult time against Detroit.
Scott Baker allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings, and the Rangers lost 7-2 to the Tigers on Friday night. Baker became the 10th starter to take the mound for injury-riddled Texas in the first 48 games.
"Baker just elevated some balls, and that team is going to take advantage of that," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It shows you how good that team is that even the bottom guy hit one out tonight. Baker usually pitches in the bottom half of the zone, but that didn't happen today."
Anibal Sanchez gave Detroit a much-needed quality start, and the Tigers snapped their four-game losing streak. Austin Jackson and Andrew Romine homered, and Ian Kinsler doubled three times against his former team.
"They're my former club, but I'm a Tiger now, and it's just about winning games. It really doesn't matter who it's against," Kinsler said. "It's more fun, because I know those guys and they're friends, and it's always fun to beat friends, but other than that, I'm a Tiger, and I'm trying to win for this club."
Kinsler was traded from Texas to Detroit for Prince Fielder in an offseason blockbuster. The Rangers put Fielder on the disabled list before the game with what is likely to be a season-ending neck problem.
Sanchez (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings. He struck out five without a walk.
"He was able to move the fastball around on both sides of the plate, so he was getting ahead in the count, and then he was able to throw anything at us," Texas outfielder Shin-Soo Choo said.
The AL Central-leading Tigers were finally facing some adversity after allowing 31 runs in their previous four games. They fell behind again when Sanchez allowed two runs in the second, but Baker (0-1) didn't hold the lead for long.
Jackson tied it with a two-run homer in the second, and Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera started the Detroit third with back-to-back doubles. Detroit scored two more runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Kinsler and a run-scoring grounder by Torii Hunter.
Sanchez, who won the 2013 ERA title in the American League, hadn't made it through seven innings this season before Friday. This was his second start since missing around three weeks with a finger injury on his throwing hand.
"He pitched a really good game, especially once he got into a rhythm after the second," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We didn't do a thing against him after that. He had a good breaking ball and he was keeping everything down. Give him a lot of credit."
Mitch Moreland opened the scoring for Texas with a two-run double, but Sanchez allowed only two harmless singles after that. Baker couldn't hold off the Tigers in the middle innings.
Even Romine got in on the act in the sixth, ending a 2-for-35 stretch with a homer down the line in right that gave the Tigers a 6-2 lead. It was his first career home run.
Kinsler scored three times. He came home on Hunter's RBI groundout in the seventh.
NOTES: Rangers leadoff hitter Leonys Martin struck out three times. ... Texas RHP Tanner Scheppers, on the DL since April 18 with elbow inflammation, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Frisco. ... Detroit INF Danny Worth earned a decent amount of attention when he took the mound in the ninth inning of Thursday's 9-2 loss to the Rangers and started throwing knuckleballs. Worth struck out two hitters, and manager Brad Ausmus said he'll continue to be available in an emergency. "We talked to him today about throwing a pen every 10 to 14 days," Ausmus said. "Don't get me wrong, he's an infielder, but if he can save our bullpen in a game like that, that would be great." ... Ausmus said Tigers RHP Luke Putkonen (elbow inflammation) is not expected to need surgery. ... Detroit RHP Rick Porcello (7-1) faces Texas RHP Nick Martinez (0-1) on Saturday.