Blue Jays halt losing skid with road win over Tigers
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,
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.