Prior to Saturday’s game, FiveThirtyEight gave the Tigers a 35 percent chance of beating the Toronto Blue Jays. Well, so much for the numbers. Matt Boyd baffled the Jays for five innings, and Victor Martinez hit a go-ahead home run for a massive 3-2 win at Rogers Centre.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the second. They loaded the bases with no outs, but were in danger of coming up empty after Victor Martinez was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Ezequiel Carrera after Steven Moya flied out. However, Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a walk (though was fortunate to not be called out on strikes earlier in the at-bat) and Andrew Romine was hit by a pitch to force in a run.
The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth with another two-out RBI. After Justin Upton doubled off the wall in left-center, Saltalamacchia found a hole with a ground ball single to make it 2-0. Salty moved to third base on a Romine single, but was stranded when Ian Kinsler grounded out to third.
The Blue Jays got on the board in the fifth inning. Junior Lake reached on an infield hit to third base, and made it to second base on an errant throw from Nick Castellanos. Boyd looked like he might get out of the jam after getting a pair of outs, but allowed a triple to former Tiger Ezequiel Carrera. After walking Josh Donaldson, Boyd induced a pop-up from Edwin Encarnacion to end the threat.
After Alex Wilson worked a scoreless frame in the sixth, the Blue Jays tied the score off hard-throwing righthander Bruce Rondon in the seventh. Former Tiger Devon Travis fell behind in the count, but was able to get his bat on a pitch down and away, and send it over the left field wall for a solo home run. Victor Martinez gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead with a solo home run of his own in the top of the eighth, his 17th of the season.
Matt Boyd: Tigers fans moaned about their team’s starting pitching options this weekend, but Boyd delivered, holding a red-hot Blue Jays lineup to one run in five innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Andrew Romine: The seldom-used Romine had a pair of hits and an RBI hit-by-pitch, along with a couple solid plays in the field. He did make a boneheaded play on the bases in the seventh, though.
Victor Martinez: You hit a game-winning home run, you earn a roar.
The top of the lineup: Ian Kinsler, Cameron Maybin, and Miguel Cabrera combined to go 0-for-12. Kinsler stranded five runners on base.
STATS AND INFO:
- The Tigers are 20-for-83 with the bases loaded this season, a .241 batting average.
- The Tigers have had nine baserunners thrown out at the plate this season (h/t @matthewbmowery)
- Opponents are 13-for-22 against Matt Boyd the third time through the batting order this season.
- With the victory, the Tigers clinched a winning record on their current 11-game road trip. They are 6-4 heading into the final game of the first half on Sunday.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: