Hunter’s Decisive RBI Lifts Tigers Over Blue Jays
TORONTO (AP) – Miguel Cabrera brushed aside a sore back to help lift the Tigers out of their recent funk.
Torii Hunter drove in the tiebreaking run with a two-out infield single in the eighth inning and Detroit rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Tuesday.
Hunter had four singles and Cabrera hit a three-run home run, his 26th, as the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak, rallying after giving up four runs in the bottom of the first.
“Especially when they score a lot of runs in the first inning, to be able to get back and win this game was big for us,” Cabrera said.
Colby Rasmus homered and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays, who failed to extend their seven-game home winning streak.
Omar Infante singled off Neil Wagner (1-3) to begin the eighth, moving to second on Alex Avila’s sacrifice bunt and taking third on Austin Jackson’s deep fly ball. Hunter followed with a comebacker that bounced off Wagner and rolled to shortstop Jose Reyes, whose throw to first was too late to get Hunter.
Al Alburquerque (1-1) worked one inning for the win, just the second for Detroit in its past eight games.
“Just a good win for us, we needed it,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Hopefully we can get things going again.”
Drew Smyly pitched the eighth and Joaquin Benoit finished in the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances.
Cabrera, who came in with a major league-leading .369 average, went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and two walks, one intentional. With 26 homers, he’s second in the majors behind Baltimore’s Chris Davis.
Cabrera said his lower back first felt stiff during batting practice, then got worse after he made a diving play in the first inning. He tweaked it again while batting in the top of the ninth, and was replaced by Ramon Santiago in the bottom of the inning.
“Hopefully it’s not a big deal and I can come in tomorrow, do treatment and be ready to play,” Cabrera said.
Leyland wasn’t ready to declare Cabrera ready to go.
“He said no rest tomorrow, he’ll be ready,” Leyland said. “We’ll play that one by ear.”
The Blue Jays jumped on Tigers starter Doug Fister with a four-run, bat-around first. Jose Bautista hit an RBI single, Rasmus followed with a two-run double and Josh Thole drove in a run with an infield hit.
The Tigers responded with a six-run second, sending 11 men to the plate. Infante doubled home a run, Avila had a two-run double and Cabrera homered.
“Miggy hit a big one,” Leyland said. “The three-run homer was huge for us.”
Avila had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list. “It was good to be able to come back and claw our way back into that one,” he said.
For the second straight start, Toronto’s Chien-Ming Wang failed to make it out of the second. Wang allowed base hits to the first four batters and was replaced after Victor Martinez singled for the seventh hit of the inning.
Toronto designated Wang for assignment after the game and will recall right-hander Todd Redmond from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place.
“We enjoyed having him around,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Wang. “We hope he chooses to stay and pitch for us down there in Triple-A and have a shot to come back.”
Wang said he was “very disappointed” by the move, adding that he’ll decide within the next couple of days whether to join Buffalo.
Making his fifth start for the Blue Jays, Wang allowed six runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings, walked one and struck out one. He gave up seven runs and six hits over 1 2-3 in a loss at Boston last week.
Detroit’s lead was short-lived. Bautista drew a two-out walk in the bottom half and Rasmus followed with a game-tying homer to center, his 15th.
Fister settled down after that, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters and allowing just a leadoff single to Bautista in the fifth.
“He ended up doing a heck of a job,” Leyland said. “He could have caved in a little bit but he didn’t. That was huge for us.”
Fister matched a season high by allowing six runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander, who has won just once in his past nine starts, walked one and struck out four.
“That first inning we had a couple of mix-ups with signs right off the bat,” Avila said. “After that we got into a nice rhythm and he did a good job.”
Gibbons was ejected in the ninth for arguing with plate umpire Alan Porter, his fourth ejection of the season.
NOTES: Toronto fell to 9-16 in one-run games. … Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez is expected to come off the disabled list Saturday to start at Cleveland. Sanchez has been out since June 16 with a sore right shoulder. … Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (left hamstring) and Adam Lind (back) were held out of the lineup for the second straight game. Munenori Kawasaki started at DH. … Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie (left ankle) was supposed to play a rehab game with Class A Dunedin on Tuesday, but it was rained out. Instead, Lawrie will play for Class A Lansing on Thursday. … Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow (forearm) is pain-free and throwing on flat ground, GM Alex Anthopoulos said. Morrow has been out since June 1 and is not expected back until late July or early August.