Sanchez came to Detroit with second baseman Omar Infante in a July trade with Miami for highly touted Jacob Turner and two minor leaguers. He was 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 12 starts for Detroit but gave up only one run in 15 1-3 innings in his final two regular-season starts. And he was the hard-luck loser in Game 3 of the division series, giving up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-0 loss to the Oakland A's.
Jim Leyland says the 28-year-old Sanchez just needed to get acclimated to his new environment before he would realize the potential he's showed at 22 with a no-hitter for Miami.
"I just think he got to know the manager, the pitching coach. He got to know his teammates. His wife was pregnant and going to have a baby, they just had a child here recently," Leyland said. "There's a lot of stress and things that go along with moving to another team, particularly a team in a pennant race with a lot of responsibility."
Kuroda, on the other hand, felt right at home in New York. The 37-year-old right-hander was 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 19 regular-season starts. He pitched into the ninth on Wednesday night in a Game 3 win for the Yankees on an extra day's rest.
"This is probably the shortest rest that I have ever had in my baseball career, but at this point of the season, you know, we can't really be talking about anything but to win," Kuroda said. "So I'm just going to prepare myself to win this game, like I always have been, throughout the season."
DESCALSO'S PLACE: Daniel Descalso already has made his mark on this postseason for the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
He hit the hit a tying, two-out single that sparked the Cardinals' ninth-inning rally on the way to a 9-7 victory at Washington on Friday night that sent St. Louis back to the NL championship series to play San Francisco.
Now, the 25-year-old second baseman gets to play back home in the Bay Area, where he mostly grew up rooting for the Oakland Athletics — along with the Giants.
Descalso lives in San Francisco's hip Marina neighborhood in the offseason, some 25 minutes from where he grew up along the Peninsula in San Carlos.
He does remember the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series, which was interrupted by an earthquake before the A's swept the Giants.
"My dad tells me we were going to games and we had two season tickets at A's games and I would sit there at 2 years old and just watch the game," Descalso said Saturday at AT&T Park, a day before Game 1. "That's my earliest memories of baseball, sitting over at the Coliseum watching the A's play."
Oakland was eliminated in Game 5 of the AL division series by the Tigers on Thursday night.
Descalso, a third-round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2007 out of UC Davis, got teased plenty for his choice of teams along the way.
"When we got into middle school and stuff, the A's weren't very good, so I'd always catch a bunch of heat for being an A's fan," he said. "That was my team that I grew up going to games to watch them play. I always rooted for the Giants, I didn't root against them, but it was A's No. 1, Giants No. 2."