By NOAH TRISTER/AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) – In a game that was scoreless until the ninth inning, Brett Lawrie’s three-run homer highlighted a big burst for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
After eight innings of crisp, scoreless baseball between the AL East and AL Central leaders, both bullpens came unglued in the ninth. The Blue Jays broke through against Joe Nathan (2-2).
J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth for the Tigers. Casey Janssen came on and struck out Don Kelly for his ninth save in 10 chances.
Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez and Toronto’s Drew Hutchison each pitched seven impressive innings.
Dustin McGowan (3-2) worked the eighth for the win.
In his first season with the Tigers, Nathan’s ERA is now an unsightly 6.86 after he was charged with four runs Tuesday.
The 39-year-old right-hander walked Anthony Gose to start the ninth – Toronto’s first baserunner since the fourth inning. Gose stole second and went to third on a single by Jose Reyes. After a popup by Melky Cabrera gave the Tigers hope of escaping the jam, Jose Bautista put the Blue Jays ahead with an RBI single up the middle.
Bautista’s grounder slipped between shortstop Andrew Romine and second baseman Ian Kinsler. Romine appeared to shy away at the last second, as if Kinsler’s presence distracted him, but it wasn’t clear if the ball was hit hard enough for an inning-ending double play anyway.
Nathan nearly picked Reyes off third, but the safe call was upheld after a replay review. After Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases, pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar hit a sacrifice fly off Ian Krol for the game’s second run.
Lawrie then went deep off Al Alburquerque for his ninth homer of the year.
Martinez homered off Steve Delabar to make it 5-3, but all that did was enable the Tigers to avoid a second straight shutout. Detroit has lost three straight.
Hutchison allowed three hits and struck out seven, while Sanchez allowed two hits with five strikeouts. Neither starter walked a batter.
NOTES: Detroit’s Austin Jackson was given an error on a flyball by Texas’ Mitch Moreland from a May 24 game after an official scoring change. The play was originally ruled a double. … Home plate umpire Tony Randazzo was hit near the throat in the fifth when Hutchison bounced a pitch. Randazzo was shaken up but able to continue. … Detroit RHP Rick Porcello (8-2) takes the mound Wednesday night against Toronto RHP R.A. Dickey (5-4).
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