Peralta Triple Lifts Tigers To Third Straight Win
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DETROIT — Tigers manager Jim Leyland had nothing to say about Monday night’s most memorable scene.
He was happy to talk about Detroit’s 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
With Leyland in the clubhouse after being ejected for an argument that lasted several minutes and included three of the four umpires, Jhonny Peralta hit a tiebreaking triple in the eighth inning and the Tigers held on to win.
“Don’t ask me about the play, whatever you do,” Leyland said at the start of his postgame remarks after initially saying he wouldn’t speak to reporters.
Leyland was angry after first base umpire Ed Rapuano changed a call at first base, calling Detroit’s Andy Dirks out after conferring with plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. During his lengthy tirade, in which he also argued with crew chief Brian O’Nora, Leyland mockingly imitated Rapuano changing his call.
“He’s got some experience at that, and it was fun to watch,” Dirks said. “At the same time, we’ve got to stay focused on the game.”
Max Scherzer struck out nine over seven strong innings and the AL Central leaders won their third straight, snapping Toronto’s three-game winning streak. Victor Martinez drove in two runs for the Tigers.
In the makeup of a May 17 rainout, the game was tied at 2 when Leyland was ejected in the seventh. Detroit scored twice in the next inning to win it.
“That was a good win in a tough game,” Leyland said. “We’re playing a lot of games in a short stretch, and I’m proud of these guys.”
Adam Lind hit his 16th homer for the Blue Jays.
With one out in the eighth, Magglio Ordonez singled off Marc Rzepczynski (2-2). Austin Jackson entered as a pinch-runner, and Shawn Camp came in to relieve Rzepczynski.
Peralta sliced a liner into the right-center gap and Jose Bautista missed an attempt at a sliding catch. The ball rolled to the wall before center fielder Rajai Davis could retrieve it, giving Peralta a standup triple.
“Jose was in position and he was going to make the catch,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “The ball just passed through the lights at the last second and he lost it.”
Jackson, who had stolen second, scored easily once the ball got past Bautista.
“We know that everyone in this lineup has the chance to get us that big hit,” Jackson said. “We’ve got strong hitters at one through nine.”
After the Blue Jays intentionally walked Alex Avila, Ryan Raburn beat out a double-play ball to drive in the fourth run.
Joaquin Benoit (2-3) picked up the win with a scoreless inning. Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 18th save in as many attempts. Toronto put two on against Valverde, but pinch-hitter Juan Rivera hit into a game-ending double play.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Scherzer allowed two runs in seven innings, while Toronto’s Zach Stewart gave up two runs in six innings.
Detroit went ahead with single runs in the second and third before Toronto tied it with a pair in the fourth.
In the second, Martinez doubled to drive in Miguel Cabrera. In the next inning, Martinez’s single brought home Brennan Boesch.
Blue Jays rookie Eric Thames led off the fourth with a double, went to third on Scherzer’s wild pitch and scored on Bautista’s groundout. Lind followed with a home run to make it 2-all.
The Blue Jays used an unusual defensive shift against Martinez in the sixth. Instead of shifting all the infielders to the right, Farrell left shortstop Yunel Escobar in his normal position and placed third baseman Jayson Nix to the right of second base. The move worked, as Martinez grounded to Nix for a 5-3 putout.
Bautista took grounders at third base and is expected to start there Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
Valverde extended his shutout streak to 11 1-3 innings over 12 games.
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