The Detroit Tigers scored four runs in the second inning to build an early lead for lefthander Blaine Hardy, who worked around four walks to earn his second straight win. Nicholas Castellanos added a late home run to boost the Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
The Tigers chased Jays starter Jaime Garcia early. Victor Martinez and James McCann singled to lead off the second inning, and scored on a JaCoby Jones triple into the right-center field gap. Jones arguably could have scored on the play after the ball scooted past a diving Kevin Pillar, but instead came home on a Leonys Martin groundout one batter later. Jose Iglesias doubled and scored later in the inning to add a fourth run to the Tigers’ total, and a Nicholas Castellanos single ended Garcia’s night.
There was little else to speak of after that. The Jays bullpen kept the Tigers offense in check, while Hardy was his usual crafty self through five innings (with some help from Jose Iglesias’ sparkling defense). Hardy ran into trouble in the sixth, walking Aledmys Diaz before a Teoscar Hernandez triple put the Blue Jays on the board. Hardy walked a second batter later in the frame, but only allowed one more run to score despite having multiple runners on with one out. He departed after six innings, having allowed two runs on just three hits.
Thanks to Hardy’s efforts, the Tigers only had to piece together two innings before handing the ball to closer Shane Greene in the ninth. Unfortunately, those innings didn’t come easy. Buck Farmer gave up a lot of loud contact in the seventh, and was bailed out by a lucky bounce. With former Tigers prospect Devon Travis on first base, Aledmys Diaz lined a ball over Castellanos’ head in right field. Fortunately for the Tigers, the ball bounced up and caromed off the railing above the fence. The play was rightly ruled a ground rule double, stopping Travis at third (who would have scored easily). Farmer then retired Hernandez for the third out, keeping the score at 4-2.
Castellanos then homered in the bottom of the seventh to extend the Tigers’ lead to three runs. Johnny Barbato made things interesting in the eighth, loading the bases, but Artie Lewicki came on to induce a weak groundout and end the threat.
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