NOAH TRISTER/AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Anibal Sanchez watched Prince Fielder crush a couple of balls – and the scene looked awfully familiar.
“That guy is incredible. I saw this guy when he was in Milwaukee,” Sanchez said. “I know what he’s got, so it’s really good being on the same team.”
Fielder homered and drove in four runs, helping Sanchez win for the first time with the Tigers in Detroit’s 10-2 rout of the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. Fielder also hit a two-run double. He has 77 RBIs in his first year with the Tigers after leaving the Brewers in the offseason.
Sanchez (1-1), acquired July 23 in a trade with the Miami Marlins, allowed one earned run in six-plus innings.
The Indians, who designated outfielder Johnny Damon for assignment before the game, lost their seventh straight. Justin Masterson (7-10) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in four innings. He walked four and struck out four.
Fielder and Miguel Cabrera had three hits each for Detroit.
“I think we’re just getting good pitches and not missing them – that seems to be what happens,” Fielder said. “See it, hit it, pretty much. That’s what is easiest for me.”
The Tigers returned home after a 3-6 trip and immediately snapped out of their funk. Fielder’s double in the third inning went off the wall in right-center and gave Detroit a 3-1 lead. The Tigers broke the game open with four runs in the fourth.
Quintin Berry hit an RBI double with two outs, Cabrera drove Berry home with a single to make it 5-1, and Fielder followed with a two-run homer to right, his 18th of the season.
Andy Dirks and Alex Avila hit RBI singles in the sixth for Detroit.
The reeling Indians have shaken things up this week, cutting right-hander Derek Lowe and then Damon. Ezequiel Carrera, called up to replace Damon, had a rough night in left field. In the second, he misplayed Avila’s line drive into an RBI double. Carrera appeared to be fighting the glare – with his sunglasses still flipped up.
Cleveland tied it with an unearned run in the third, but Detroit quickly pulled away.
Sanchez allowed five runs in six innings in his Tigers debut a week earlier at Toronto, but he looked comfortable at Comerica Park, especially after Detroit took a big lead. Sanchez allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out five.
The right-hander got a nice ovation in his home debut when he left during the seventh inning.
“The players told me about the fans here. It’s incredible,” Sanchez said. “I don’t have exactly words to express that.”
In his last two starts, Masterson has allowed 15 earned runs and 17 hits in 9 2-3 innings.
“It’s really disappointing to let my team down. The biggest thing is that I wanted to set a tone and help us turn this around, and that didn’t happen,” Masterson said. “On the bright side, my wife just told me that all her past and future profits from her cookie business are going to charity, so that brightens things up.”
Detroit outfielder Andy Dirks was activated from the disabled list before the game. He had been out since May 31 with right Achilles tendinitis. He had two hits and a walk on Friday.
Cleveland has lost seven straight for the first time since June 2010.
NOTES: Tigers RHP Al Alburquerque was transferred from Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo as part of his injury rehabilitation assignment. The reliever is recovering from right elbow surgery. … Detroit RHP Doug Fister (5-7) takes the mound against Cleveland RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10) on Saturday night in a matchup of starters acquired for the stretch run in 2011.
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