The Blue Jays started off their series against the Detroit Tigers in a positive way. After avoiding the sweep with a 10-4 win against Oakland yesterday, Toronto was hoping to kick the weekend off with a win on Friday night.
Starter Carlos Villanueva was not at his most efficient, needing 99 pitches to make it through five innings. But, after giving up two, two-out solo homeruns to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the bottom of the first, Villanueva kept the Tigers from scoring. Detroit managed only four hits and two walks with two strikeouts against the right-hander, but it was long at-bats that drove up Villanueva’s pitch count.
Early on it looked like the Jays would be in tough to score against Rick Porcello, who had his sinker ball working early. Even though the Jays managed to score a run in the first on a single from Edwin Encarnacion to score Omar Vizquel, it wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth and second time through the order that they managed to really get to Porcello.
Colby Rasmus kicked off the fourth with a single, but was later thrown out at second on Encarnacion’s fielder’s choice. Kelly Johnson walked putting runners on first and second. Yan Gomes struck out for the second out of the inning, but Travis Snider followed with another walk. Jeff Mathis took a fastball over the heart of the plate to left a bases clearing double, and later scored on Anthony Gose’s single to right.
The Jays added another run in the seventh on back-to-back triples from Brett Lawrie and Omar Vizquel, a definite highlight of the night. The Tigers scored in the eighth after Cabrera doubled to lead-off and Fielder singled to bring him home on a close play at the plate. Left-fielder Travis Snider got the run back in the bottom on the inning, hitting a two run shot to centre field with Yan Gomes on base. It was Snider’s third homerun since being re-called on July 20, all of which have come off of left-handed pitching. It’s a great showing for Snider, who in previous stretches with the Jays has seen limited plate appearances against lefties.
Aaron Loup and Brandon Lyon both pitched well in the six and seventh, bridging nicely to Darren Oliver who came in to pitch the eighth. Closer Casey Janssen was up and ready when the Jays score again in the bottom of the eighth, but closed out the non-save situation with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Jays are lucky to be missing Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in this series, but they still need a solid mix of good hitting and just-good-enough pitching if they want to at least win two of three.
Henderson Alvarez will pitch Saturday for the Jays. Anibal Sanchez gets the call for the Tigers. Game time is set for 1:07 EST.
About the Author
Written by Amanda Tallon
Self-professed baseball nerd, blogger, writer, tweeter, learning addict and once colour commentator. Celebrating over twenty years of love with the Toronto Blue Jays and the beautiful game of baseball. I also contribute to thegalsgotgame.com, a sports website for business women by women.