Sanchez gave light-hitting Tigers a shot in Game 3


Sanchez gave light-hitting Tigers a shot in Game 3

DETROIT (AP) Anibal Sanchez gave the Detroit Tigers a shot.

They just couldn't hit - again.

Sanchez gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings, but didn't get any run support as the San Francisco Giants beat Detroit 2-0 Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the lopsided World Series.

``Bad moment for hitters,'' Sanchez said. ``But nothing is over.''

The hardly hitting Tigers could be finished soon - as early as Sunday night in Game 4, in fact - during a series in which they haven't led San Francisco once after not trailing the New York Yankees at any point of the American League championship series.

Detroit was shut out in two straight games in one postseason for the first time since getting blanked by the Chicago Cubs in consecutive games of the 1908 World Series.

Sanchez struck out eight, walked only one and had his ERA go down to 2.57 this postseason, but he lost for the second time this month. He also gave up just two runs in his previous setback, a 2-0 loss to Oakland in the AL division series.

Sanchez, acquired from the Miami Marlins in July, pitched after being off for 12 days. He walked Hunter Pence on four pitches to start the second inning, ending his streak of facing 95 right-handed batters without giving up a walk dating to Aug. 22, according to STATS LLC.

``He was probably over-competing a little bit early and then he settled in and was absolutely terrific,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

One out later in the second, Gregor Blanco hit a full-count pitch for a triple to drive in the first run and scored on Brandon Crawford's single.

``Their guy threw well, and a game like this could go either way,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ``And, Blanco got a huge hit.''

Detroit's Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke combined to pitch two innings of scoreless relief, but the Tigers couldn't rally to render their performance on the mound moot.

``We got tremendous pitching effort, but we've been shut out for 18 innings, so it's pretty hard to win a game,'' Leyland said.


GIANT D: San Francisco has showed that pitching and defense is quite a formula for success.

Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco raced to his right to get the second out of the ninth inning, catching Jhonny Peralta's fly in foul territory - on the palm of his glove. Shortstop Brandon Crawford kept Miguel Cabrera off the bath paths in the eighth with a diving stop up the middle and a sharp throw. And in the fifth inning, third baseman Pablo Sandoval snagged Peralta's sinking line drive.

``Defense can win games for you,'' Bochy said. ``And it did tonight.''

San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong said his teammates were playing so well behind him that he simply just wanted to throw strikes.

``It encourages you to try and get the guys to hit the ball in play,'' Vogelsong said.


GAME 4 MATCHUP: Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer and San Francisco righty Matt Cain didn't need to know the outcome of Saturday's World Series game - the Giants won 2-0 - to understand that the stakes will be high when they take the mound Sunday night.

Both starters couldn't wait to take advantage of an opportunity to give their team a much-needed - or must-have - victory in Game 4.

``I absolutely relish it,'' Scherzer said before Game 3. ``This is the start of a lifetime to be able to pitch in the World Series.''

The Giants take a 3-0 lead in the seven-game series into Game 4.

``You try to trick yourself into thinking it's another game, but you know what's going on,'' Cain said. ``Your mind and your body, they know what's going on.''

Both teams probably like their chances with the starters they'll have in the game.

Scherzer, who was 16-7 in the regular season with 231 strikeouts that trailed only teammate Justin Verlander's baseball-leading total, is 0-1 with an 0.82 ERA this postseason.

He was on pace for a victory in Game 4 of the AL division series against the Oakland Athletics until Jose Valverde blew the lead in the ninth inning. Scherzer allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings of Detroit's AL pennant-clinching win over the New York Yankees.

By starting on Sunday, Scherzer will have pitched Game 4 of all three postseason series.

Cain, meanwhile, hasn't been quite as sharp in the playoffs as he was during the regular season.

He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in the postseason after throwing a perfect game in June and going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA for the season.

Cain pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings and drove in a run to help San Francisco beat St. Louis in Game 7 of the NLCS after giving up three runs in each of his first three postseason starts.


CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Bud Selig presented Miguel Cabrera with an actual crown Saturday, recognizing the Triple Crown he won this season, and announced that the Tigers slugger won the AL's Hank Aaron Award.

For the first time, both winners of the award that recognizes the top offensive players in each league were getting ready to play in the same World Series.

After Cabrera posed for pictures and made a statement, he went to get ready for Game 3. Moments later, Giants catcher Buster Posey was honored for being the NL's Hank Aaron Award winner.

``Miguel joined historic company this year by winning the game's first Triple Crown in 45 years,'' Selig said. ``And, Buster was a consistent force in returning to the field triumphantly this year.''

Cabrera is the first player to lead a league in batting average, home runs and RBIs since 1967 when Boston's Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the feat.

``I am very nervous right now,'' Cabrera said after waiting for more than 10 minutes for Selig to arrive at the pregame news conference. ``But I want to thank you very much. It's an honor to be sitting here with a Hall of Famer and commissioner.''

Posey hit .336 and became the first catcher in the league win the batting title since Ernie Lombardi of the Boston Braves in 1942.

``I'm humbled that Hank Aaron knows who I am,'' Posey said. ``Growing up in Georgia, he's a legend.''


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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.