Jefry Marte powers Los Angeles Angels past Detroit Tigers

By Rich Shook, The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 29, 2016 at 12:19 AM
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DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers did Jefry Marte a favor this winter when they traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for a minor league infielder.

But he did them no favors Sunday when he hit a two-run home run and added a sacrifice fly while Tyler Skaggs and three relievers combined on a four-hit shutout to lead Los Angeles to a 5-0 victory that was their second in a row over Detroit.

Marte debuted with Detroit a year ago and showed he was a power threat. But the fact his primary position was third base and his secondary spot was first meant he had little hope of playing time with Nick Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera in front of him.

"He's showing us what was projected," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He can definitely drive a ball to all parts of the field.

"I think he's understanding ... with two strikes he shortened his swing up and drove the ball to center for a sac fly. Hopefully this experience of getting at-bats is going to let us see exactly what his upside is and see if he can reach it."

Marte is getting at-bats in the absence of Yunel Escobar, scheduled to come back from the effects of a concussion next week.

"From the defensive end there's no doubt he can handle the position," Scioscia said of Marte. "The thing about playing third base is you really have to bring some kind of an offensive package that's unique. Either it's power, which he's showing, or you're going to have to hit like 'Yuni' and get on base.

When Yunel comes back, he's going to play third base. And we're going to have to be creative and see where guys move around to get at-bats. Obviously Jefry's played left field, Kaleb's (Cowart) played some second. So we might have to tap into some of their versatility."

Marte came up after Andrelton Simmons singled to open the fifth inning and hit a 1-2 fastball that was right down the middle for his 10th home run of the season. It broke a scoreless tie and was Marte's second home run and third hit in four at-bats against Anibal Sanchez.

"Of course (I was excited to play against Detroit). That's the team that I've been (with) before. I try to do my best. I mean I try to do my best every game.

"When you play against the team that you was (with) before ... I was looking for a good pitch. He just threw the fastball right there."

Marte hit his sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 4-0.

Sanchez (7-13) allowed three straight singles to open the sixth before Simmons and Marte hit sacrifice flies to center and Nick Buss shot an RBI double down the first base line. Sanchez turned in four scoreless innings on two hits before the fifth. He gave up eight hits in 5 2/3 innings with no walks and two strikeouts.

Skaggs (2-3) gave up a single plus a double to Cabrera but no hits to anybody else in his six innings. He struck out six, hit one and walked two. The Angels, like many teams, find ways to start left-handers against the Tigers because even though Detroit is laden with right-handed hitters, they don't hit lefties very well.

"Give Skaggs some credit," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "We've struggled for -- I can't really explain it -- but we've struggled for whatever reason against left-handed starters this year, and this was another day. We didn't do much at all.

"If you had asked me in May, I would've said (it's) an anomaly, but we're almost in September. It doesn't mean we haven't gone out there and hit a left-handed pitcher around once in a while.

"But just overall, we've struggled against lefties as a group. You can ask me any number of ways you want, I don't know why. I can't give you an answer."

Mike Morin pitched the seventh for the Angels, Jose Valdez, worked the eighth and Deolis Guerra the ninth as Detroit was shut out for the ninth time this season.

The Tigers' best scoring chance was when Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and moved up on a fly ball to deep center. But J.D. Martinez struck out on a high fastball and Casey McGehee hit into a force play following a walk to end the threat.

NOTES: 1B Miguel Cabrera needs just one RBI to tie former SS Alan Trammell for 10th on the Tigers' all-time list at 1,003. ... Angels RHP Fernando Salas will get a look as the closer the rest of the season, manager Mike Scioscia said. ... Detroit manager Brad Ausmus will reset his rotation following Thursday's off day but hasn't said just how it will go. ... Saturday's rotation switch worked out, Scioscia said, so LHP Brett Oberholtzer will remain a starter and RHP Jhoulys Chacin will continue working out of the bullpen.

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