Halt skid

Jays take road game from Detroit 10-5

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

The Detroit Tigers need strong per­for­mances from Justin Ver­lan­der if they are go­ing to win their sixth straight AL Cen­tral ti­tle, and right now the for­mer ace is far from his best.

Ver­lan­der re­mained win­less in four starts since miss­ing the first two months of the sea­son be­cause of a strained right tri­ceps. He al­lowed seven runs Sun­day as his ERA bal­looned to 6.75 ERA dur­ing the Tigers’ 105 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak home­red in a six-run fifth in­ning against the 2011 AL Cy Young Award win­ner and MVP, who is 15-14 since sportsher­nia surgery be­fore the 2014 sea­son.

Once a famed per­fec­tion­ist, Ver­lan­der (0-2) gave up seven hits and two walks in five in­nings, strik­ing out five. He needed 94 pitches to get 15 outs.

“You can look at this in two ways,” he said. “You can look at the fifth in­ning and look at it neg­a­tively, or you can look at the rest of it, and look at it pos- itively. My stuff is bet­ter than it has been in a cou­ple years. I just need to fine-tune it.”

Detroit reached the mid­point of the sea­son at 41-40, its poor­est record since a 39-42 mark for the first half in 2012. The Tigers trail first-place Kansas City by six games and are 1 1/2 games be­hind Min­nesota.

“If you look around this club­house, we've got a lot of vet­er­ans who know what it takes,” said J.D. Martinez, who hit his 23rd homer. “They know to lock it down. ... That’s some­thing that Kansas City strug­gled with last year, but they have a lot more ex­pe­ri­ence this time.”

Toronto stopped a three­game los­ing streak and won for just the sec­ond time in seven games.

“We def­i­nitely needed this one,” Blue Jays man­ager John Gib­bons said. “We’ve had to go against (Ani­bal) Sanchez and (David) Price the last two nights, and we've got (Chris) Sale to­mor­row, so we needed a game where the of­fence could get things go­ing.”

Marco Estrada (6-4) im­proved to 5-1 in his last seven starts, al­low­ing two runs and five hits in five in­nings.


Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista, right, cel­e­brates his two-run home run with team­mate Josh Don­ald­son (20) dur­ing the fifth in­ning of a base­ball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sun­day in Detroit.

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