Blue Jays halt los­ing skid with road win over Tigers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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 dur­ing the Tigers’ 10-5 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 sports-her­nia 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 pos­i­tively. My stuff is bet­ter than it has 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. been in a cou­ple years. need to fine-tune it.”

Toronto stopped a three-game 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,

I

just 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. Roberto Osuna got four outs for his third save.

“It is al­ways great to get a win, but to­day was even bet­ter be­cause it is my birth­day,” said Estrada, who turned 32. “The guys got me a nice present by putting up 10 runs.”

Toronto went ahead af­ter seven pitches when Jose Reyes led off with a bloop dou­ble and scored on Josh Don­ald­son’s sin­gle. Ver­lan­der’s er­ror on an er­rant pickoff at­tempt al­lowed Don­ald­son to take third, but pitched out of the jam.

Ver­lan­der didn’t al­low another hit un­til the fifth, helped by a spec­tac­u­lar play by Jose Igle­sias that ended the fourth. The short­stop ranged into the hole and threw to sec­ond for a force­out.

Danny Va­len­cia walked lead­ing off the fifth af­ter be­ing down 0-2 in the count, Kevin Pil­lar sin­gled and Devon Travis hit an RBI dou­ble. Reyes’ ground­out made it 3-0 and moved Travis to third, and Don­ald­son sin­gled through a drawn-in in­field. Bautista fol­lowed with a two-run homer over the Tigers bullpen in left and, four pitches later, Smoak home­red to right for a 7-0 lead.

Rus­sell Martin and Devon Travis added RBI sin­gles.

AP PHOTO

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