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Blue Jays 3, Tigers 2 (10): Joe Nathan blows save opportunity after Max Scherzer's dominant performance

Max Scherzer went eight strong innings and struck out 11, holding the Blue Jays to just one run, but Joe Nathan came out in the ninth and blew it up.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A combination of low scoring early on and a blown ninth inning by Joe Nathan sent the Tigers and the Blue Jays into extra innings. Another injury prompted a scrambling in the bullpen and as a result, the Tigers lost 3-2 in the 10th and Max Scherzer was denied his 14th win of the season for the second consecutive time.

Scherzer absolutely dominated the Blue Jays through eight innings, striking out 11 and allowing just four hits, but as has happened too often with the Tigers lately, he received nearly no run support. He had the chance to pitch his second career complete game, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus pulled him after the eighth inning and just 106 pitches.

The bullpen has been dependable lately, but after a prolonged outing by Nathan Friday night, Ausmus brought him on again and the result wasn't so pretty. He departed after two hits (one an RBI single) and two walks before Ausmus pulled him in favor of Joakim Soria.

Soria pitched out of the ninth inning on just five pitches, but he had to come out of the game before throwing a single pitch in the 10th when he felt discomfort in his left side. Currently listed as a left side strain, Soria said it's something he's never experienced before and is taking precautions until the Tigers have a more definitive answer.

The offense, meanwhile, continued to struggle as it was held to just four hits by Marcus Stroman. Victor Martinez gave the Tigers their only big hit of the day, an RBI double to the left field corner that scored Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera in the sixth. While they drew four walks in the game, including a leadoff walk by Ezequiel Carrera in the 10th, the only walk that came around to score was Cabrera.


Max Scherzer: The reigning AL Cy Young champion had FOX Sports Detroits' Rod Allen and Mario Impemba giggling like school girls and Dan Dickerson woke up the dead after Scherzer recorded his 11th strikeout after eight dominant innings. He gave up just one run in the sixth inning and had five 1-2-3 innings but he received a no-decision in the end.

Victor Martinez: With two on and two out in the sixth inning, Martinez nailed a pitch to the left field corner for a two-run RBI double that put the Tigers on the board 2-0. ( video)

Rajai Davis: Returning to Rogers Centre, Davis has recorded back-to-back multi-hit games. Saturday he hit back-to-back singles in the first and third innings after going 2-5 with a game-winning catch in foul territory Friday night. Davis finished 2-4 for the day with both hits being sent in the opposite direction and he reached second base in the first on an error.

Joakim Soria: He had very little time to warmup, but Soria did what Nathan couldn't do to save his life on Saturday. Soria needed just five pitches to get the next two batters out and gave the Tigers another chance at a win as they went into the 10th inning.


Miguel Cabrera: Looking off-balanced, Cabrera had another rough day at the plate as he finished 0-4 with a walk. That walk, however, turned out to be the game-leading score at the time. A hiss overall, nonetheless.

Brad Ausmus: Scherzer and catcher Bryan Holaday had been working well together all afternoon and Ausmus' decision to pull Scherzer when things were going smoothly resulted in a stressful ninth, extra innings, and the loss. Ausmus and Scherzer both agree Scherzer was done after eight innings but Scherzer's final inning, his exit and hesitation on both parts in answering post-game questions suggested otherwise.

Joe Nathan: Nathan had neither control nor command of the strike zone on Saturday. A leadoff single, stolen base and an intentional walk resulted in the tying run off the bat of Dioner Navarro. Nathan had Colby Rasmus in an 0-2 count, but the next four pitches landed outside the strike zone and Rasmus walked to load the bases and Nathan's day was done.


Things got off to an interesting start. Rajai Davis hit a leadoff single in the first inning but he overran the bag enough for the Blue Jays to attempt to throw behind Davis. The first baseman couldn't hold onto the ball and Davis made it to second base on the error, but a quick pickoff move by pitcher Marcus Stroman erased Davis from the basepaths.

Joakim Soria came out to pitch the 10th inning but he hadn't even thrown a warmup pitch before head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came running out of the dugout as Soria was holding his left side. He departed and remained in the dugout, still holding his side as Chamberlain pitched instead. He officially left the game with a left side strain and will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

Chamberlain allowed the winning run, an RBI double off the bat of Nolan Reimold, but were it not for the ninth inning antics of Nathan, Chamberlain would not have been forced into the position in the first place.


  • Victor Martinez's two-run gave him 68 RBI for the season, which is exactly double the number of strikeouts (34) Martinez has recorded this season.
  • Joe Nathan gave up his sixth blown save of the season, and his first since June 21.
  • The Tigers' lead in the AL Central has been cut to two and they are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • Rajai Davis is 4 for 9 with two doubles in the series against the Blue Jays. The rest of the Tigers offense was a combined 2-25 on Saturday.
  • In August, Miguel Cabrera is hitting just .185 with five hits, one home run, three RBI, seven walks (one intentional) and has grounded into three double plays.


Source: FanGraphs


Roll Call Info
Total comments 530
Total commenters 40
Commenter list AlohaTigersFan, AurelioFan, BadCompany22, ChargingTiger, DJ Screw, DetroitSports, Emil Sitka, Grand Rapids Howie, Grzesio, HaiderIsWriting, House by the Side of the Road, J_the_Man, Jacob30, Jeff Price, Kazoonole, Keith-Allen, MSUDersh, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, NCDee, Nonsuch Ned, RoctoMom, SanDiegoMick, Singledigit, SloppyBJs, SpartanHT, Thorpac, Tigerdog1, Tigersalltheway, ahtrap, dishnet34, doctor hans, dominator039, kland83, knucklescarbone, mrsunshine, redwingsphan, subic sailor, swish330, tjtabin, wolfpack13
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# Commenter # Comments
1 SanDiegoMick 49
2 mrsunshine 48
3 Singledigit 48
4 Tigersalltheway 48
5 DJ Screw 43
6 ahtrap 34
7 Jeff Price 31
8 House by the Side of the Road 22
9 HaiderIsWriting 21
10 AurelioFan 20


# Recs Commenter Comment Link
3 Tigerdog1 Then use Soria
2 Grand Rapids Howie With as well as Max pitched the eighth,
1 SanDiegoMick Take him out Brad
1 DJ Screw He's also a HR and BB pitcher this season
1 Grzesio or... Don kelly ?