Blue Jays 8, Tigers 2: Latest losing streak reaches four games as offense, bullpen fail Rick Porcello

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The never-ending funk continues. Rick Porcello pitches well, but the offense and bullpen gave him no support.

The Toronto Blue Jays broke a close game wide open with five runs in the final two innings, knocking off the Detroit Tigers 8-2. The Tigers dropped their fourth consecutive game, and have now lost 12-of-16.

Toronto starter R.A. Dickey (W, 6-4) wasn't at his best, but hung around long enough to get the win. Dickey gave up two runs on seven hits, but was pulled with no one out and the bases loaded in the sixth.  Aaron Loup bailed the Blue Jays starter out by retiring the next three Tigers.

That was the beginning of a lights-out night for the Blue Jays' bullpen. Once the bullpen took over for Dickey, four relievers combined to not allow a hit or run over the final four innings.

"This team is way better than the way we've played in the last few weeks." -Brad Ausmus

Rick Porcello (L, 8-3) pitched well enough to win most nights, allowing three runs on six hits. It would be the bullpen which lit a dumpster fire over the last two innings, the Blue Jays puttingf the game out of reach against three relievers. Evan Reed was dinged for four hits and three runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Phil Coke took over, allowing an inherited run to score. Rookie Corey Knebel seved up two runs and three hits in his one inning of work.

The Blue Jays outhit the Tigers 13-7, doing most of their damage in the eighth and ninth innings. The meat of Toronto's order led the way. Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista each had three hits and two RBIs, Adam Lind adding two extra base hits and three RBIs.

"This isn't Armageddon." -Brad Ausmus

The Tigers were compeltely stymied on offense, ending the game 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving the bases loaded twice. All the Tigers' scoring came in the first three innings on solo home runs off the bats of Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler.

Manager Brad Ausmus is going through a trial by fire.It's been three weeks since the Tigers' have been running on all cylinders. First it was the bullpen which faltered, then the starting pitching collapsed into a funk, and now the offense has gone into the tank.

The question is, can a rookie manager right the ship when everything that could go wrong, did?

The Blue Jays picked up from where they left off Tuesday night, taking an early lead thanks to the long ball.

Top one and one out, Rick Porcello threw a full count meatball to Melky Cabrera. The resulting line drive landed in the right field seats. The solo shot was the ninth of the season for Cabrera, putting the Blue Jays up 1-0.

In the bottom half of the first, the Tigers countered M.Cabrera's homer with one by their own, and better, M. Cabrera.

Two down and facing R.A. Dickey, Miguel Cabrera jumped all over the first pitch he saw (a weak fastball), launching a fly ball over the Tigers' bullpen in left.

Cabrera's 11th home run and 50th RBI knotted the game at 1-all (MLB.com video).

Both teams had two singles in the second, only to see nothing come from them. Porcello kept out of trouble thanks to a double play sandwiched between the two hits. Dickey allowed singles to Alex Avila and Andrew Romine, but Rajai Davis struck out to strand a pair.

Bottom of three, one swing of Ian Kinsler's bat gave the Tigers a lead for the first time in the series. In the words of Rod Allen, Kinsler "lifted and separated" on a Dickey knuckler, sending it deep to left for a 2-1 Detroit lead.  his fifth home run of the season. The solo shot was Kinsler's fifth of the season, and his first since he went yard in back-to-back games on May 11-12.

While Porcello had settled in, the Tigers had themselves a two out, bases loaded scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. After two were out, Nick Castellanos singled and stole second (the first of his career). Romine extended the inning by working a base on balls. Davis followed by bouncing a  single through the left side, but Castellanos was wisely held up at third by Dave Clark.

Yet the Tigers failed to capitalize. Kinsler stranded three when he flew out to right.

Meanwhile, Porcello had regained his groove. He set the side down in order in the fifth, retiring 9-of-10 Blue Jays since the second. The one batter who had reached (Jose Bautista via a fourth inning infield single) was eliminated via a double play

Two down in the sixth, Toronto's Cabrera smoked a double into the left field corner, the first Blue Jay to advance past first base since Cabrera went deep in the first.

Discretion being the better part of valor and Lind on deck, Porcello unintentionally intentionally walked Bautista with first base open. The strategy blew up in the Tigers' face.

Lind made Porcello pay when he left a fastball up, doubling over the head of Austin Jackson, clearing the bases and giving the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead.

Jackson almost made a spectacular catch, coming up short by inches in deep center. But should he have left his feet? You make the call...

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Porcello would strand Lind at second when Edwin Encarnacion lined out to left. But the Tigers were down 3-2 and were still struggling on offense.

Bottom of the sixth, the Tigers loaded the bases with no one out, ending Dickey's night. Jackson led off with a walk, advancing to second on Avila's single. Castellanos also earned a free pass, forcing John Gibbons to bring in right-hander Aaron Loup.

The Tigers' offense then bailed out Blue Jays pitching thanks to a string of God awful at-bats. Pinch-hitting for Romine, J.D. Martinez went fishing on a breaking pitch closer to 8 Mile than the strike zone, striking out. Davis proceeded to pop up the first pitch he saw for the second out. Kinsler ended the inning with a soft looper off his fists which was caught by Encarnacion.

The Tigers had left the bases loaded for the second time in three innings, Kinsler making the final out in both innings.

Top of seven, and Porcello still on the mound, newly called up shortstop Eugenio Suarez was on the field.  The rookie easily handled his first fielding chance, Josh Thole bouncing out 6-3 to end a 1-2-3 inning.

"The important thing is the players don't start to think this is the type of team we are." -Brad Ausmus

The bottom half of the seventh was more of the same. Cabrera led off with a walk, quickly eliminated when Victor Martinez bounced into twin killing. Loup induced a weak ground ball off the bat of Torii Hunter, the Tigers now six outs away from losing the series.

Porcello was done after seven innings and 108 pitches, replaced by Evan Reed. One down, Jose Reyes singled, taking second when Cabrera was unable to handle Reed's pick off throw. The error was charged to Reed, though it likely should have been Cabrera's.

The E-1 would prove costly. Toronto's Cabrera come through with his third hit of the night, an RBI single to left plating Reyes. Reyes was able to beat a weak throw from Davis, which also allowed Cabrera to take second.

Things went from ridiculous to sublime, Castellanos over-running  Bautista's dribbler, then losing his feet. Everyone was safe, runners now on the corners.

for the second consecutive at-bat, Lind doubled into the right field corner. Reyes scored, Bautista holding up at third. Reed intentionally walked Encarnacion, Ausmus wanting a lefty-lefty matchup. Phil Coke entered the game to face Juan Francisco.

But Gibbons countered with a right-hand swinging pinch-hitter, Steve Tolleson. He bounced into a fielder's choice, Bautista crossing the plate to push the Blue Jays' lead to 6-2. Coke would get out the inning without further damage, but the Tigers now found themselves down four runs.

Brett Cecil on the mound for the Blue Jays in the eighth, the Tigers threatened ... but again failed to score. One down, Avila walked, taking second when Encarnacion botted Castellanos' ground ball. In his first MLB at-bat, Suarez bounced to Lawrie at third. Rather than just taking the sure out at third, Lawrie stepped on the bag and tried an impossible sidearm throw while moving away from first. The throw was, of course, wild, allowing Castellanos and Suarez to advance into scoring position.

"The first month and a half is much more indicative of the team we are than the last two weeks." -Brad Ausmus

Dustin McGowan entered the game, striking out Davis, stranding a pair.

Corey Knebel had ninth inning duty, finding trouble along the way. Erik Kratz and Anthony Gose led off with back-to-back singles. Just as it appeared the rookie would pitch out of the jam, Bautista strode to the plate. He rifled a two out, two RBI double into the left field corner, extending the Blue Jays' lead to 8-3. .

Facing Chad Jenkins, the Tigers all but mailed in the bottom of the ninth. It took all of seven pitches for Kinsler, Cabrera and Martinez to weakly bounce out.. The Tigers' offense couldn't have been any worse. After Avila singled leading off the sixth, the Tigers were held hitless for the remainder of the game.

Game over. Your final score is Blue Jays 8, Tigers 2.

The Tigers are well on their way to giving back the wins during their hot streak. After winning 15-of-18, the Tigers have won only 4-of-12. The Tigers have not won a series since sweeping the Red Sox three weeks ago.

Thursday's getaway day matchup has Justin Verlander (6-3, 4.29 ERA) facing another Blue Jays pitcher who goes by his initials, J.A. Happ (4-2, 4.10 ERA).

Happ is coming off a season worst start in giving up six runs and nine hits in a loss to the Royals, but he also helped save a tired Blue Jays bullpen by pitching 7 1/3 innings. Verlander rediscovered his nid-high 90's velocity in his last appearance, beating the Mariners by allowing three runs on just five hits over 7 1/3 innings. His seven strikeouts were the most Verlander has recorded in any start since the opening week of the season.

First pitch at Comerica Park is scheduled for 1:08 PM.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

There was sad breaking news mid-game. The Gerbil, baseball lifer Don Zimmer had died.

Odds are good this is the future of many a member of the BYB community.

Detroit Red Wings fans will get it.

Top of the fourth, Andrew Romine made a diving stop on Jose Bautista's hot shot into the hole at short. Romine snagged the ground ball, but remained on the turf, holding his non-throwing shoulder. It appeared to be a serious injury, first thoughts being Romine separated his shoulder and Eugenio Suarez would be making his big league debut. To everyone's surprise, trainer Kevin Rand looked Romine over, gave the all-clear, allowing him to remain in the game. Romine quickly showed he was fine on the very next play by making the pivot on Adam Lind's double play ball

Rod Allen quote of the night came in the sixth, saying R.A. Dickey has "no elbow in his right elbow" (HEAD ASPLODES)

Going by this cringe inducing slide, Eugenio Suarez was under the base running tutelage of Prince Fielder.

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STREAKS AND STATS:

Rick Porcello made his MLB debut against the Blue Jays in 2009.

Miguel Cabrera's first inning home run was the 376th of his career, tying him with Carlton Fisk for 71st in MLB history. Cabrera also one back of Rudy York for seventh overall in Tigers' franchise history with 238 home runs while wearing the Olde English D.

Nick Castellanos stole the first base of his career in the fourth.

Eugenio Suarez made his MLB debut in the seventh, finishing the game at shortstop.

TWO ROARS:

Rick Porcello: Made two mistakes. The first inning home run to Melky Cabrera and the two out, two RBI double to Adam Lind in the sixth. Even then, giving up three runs and six hits over seven inning should earn a win if you are getting a minimal amount of run support. The Tigers leaving the bases loaded twice left Porcello working without a safety net.

Alex Avila: Reached base three times with a pair of singles and a walk.

THREE HISSES:

Ian Kinsler: Two at-bats with the bases loaded resulted in two inning-ending outs - a fourth inning pop up and a sixth inning fly ball.

Evan Reed: Let a close game get out of hand. Allowed four hits, a walk and three runs in just 1/3 of an inning.

Austin Jackson: Showed no signs of breaking out of his slump with an 0-for-3, one walk, two strikeout night. At the end of April, Jackson was hitting .307/.391/.520. In just under five weeks, his slash line has dropped to an ugly .233/.298/.370.

BONUS HISSES:

Corey Knebel: Served up two runs on three hits in his one inning of work.

Torii Hunter: An 0-for-4 night drops Hunter's OBP under .300 at .292.

Lower order production: Why aren't the Tigers scoring? It's simple. Here's the woeful OBPs of the fifth, sixth, eighth and nine hitters: .Hunter 292, Jackson .298., Castellanos .286, and Romine .264. Alex Avila batted seventh, owing the only OBP over .300 at .338.

The offense: They had their chances, but left the bases loaded twice. The Tigers ended the game with seven hits, and just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

ROLL CALL:

Word of warning: Another game thread like tonight's train wreck will NOT be tolerated. Action will be taken if this continues. Venting is fine. Personal attacks and trolling is not.

Total comments 544
Total commenters 43
Commenter list AriTwice, DJ Screw, Designated for Assignment, Emil Sitka, Fielder'sChoice, House by the Side of the Road, JWurm, Jacob30, Jim Bunn, Kevin Walsh, LoganB, MSUDersh, Mark in Chicago, NCDee, Naysayer N San Diego, Rafael Tigers, Rob Rogacki, RoverTO, SanDiegoMick, Scarsdale_Vibe, Sean Heyboer, SpartanHT, Starsailor, TheLegacyofJordanTata, Tigerdog1, Tiggersmom, Verlanderful, ap62, bluejays13, dimes5, draykov44, ellensaurus, gatorboots, jgrubbs, knucklescarbone, loswr86, lowandoutside, sincecolavito, stevenyc, subic sailor, texastigerfan, warghoul, zkello
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2014/6/4/5778886/game-55-tigers-vs-jays-7-08-p-m

TOP 11 COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 SanDiegoMick 73
2 DJ Screw 36
3 JWurm 32
4 MSUDersh 26
5 Fielder'sChoice 26
6 TheLegacyofJordanTata 25
7 jgrubbs 24
8 Kevin Walsh 22
9 SpartanHT 21
10 subic sailor 20
11 warghoul 20

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
3 Jim Bunn Gotta bookmark this thread and rerun it
2 AriTwice You're so thick...
2 Designated for Assignment I picked the wrong week to stop huffing Sterno.
2 Tigerdog1 General Zim
2 jgrubbs Tigers baseball right now

GAME 54 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Anibal Sanchez was the runaway PotG thanks to his seven shutout innings, taking 95% of the BYB vote.

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