The Detroit Tigers earned a series split with the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to a 3-2 win in extra innings on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre. The Tigers probably should have won 2-1 in nine innings, but a questionable strike zone from home plate umpire Nic Lentz led to a blown save from Joe Jimenez in the bottom of the ninth. That didn’t matter in the end, however, as the Tigers scratched across a run in the top of the 10th before Blaine Hardy recorded the final three outs for his first career save.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the first. Four consecutive singles off Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki, the last from Victor Martinez, gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. That would be all for the threat, however, as James McCann grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases still loaded.
The Blue Jays tied the score in the fourth inning. Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk led off the inning with a single and a double, respectively, and Granderson scored on a Teoscar Hernandez groundout. John Hicks delivered an RBI groundout of his own in the top of the sixth, scoring Nicholas Castellanos to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Other than that, there wasn’t much for either offense to write home about. Borucki held the Tigers to two runs on six hits in seven innings — remember, four of those came in the top of the first — with eight strikeouts. Mike Fiers only tallied five strikeouts, but held the Jays to just one run on three hits.
With Shane Greene now on the disabled list, the Tigers turned to Joe Jimenez in the ninth. Jimenez struck out Grichuk to lead off the inning, but walked Yangervis Solarte with one out. Teoscar Hernandez doubled to deep left field, but a quick relay from the Tigers stopped pinch runner Devon Travis at third base. After an intentional walk, Jimenez induced a shallow flyout from Kevin Pillar for the second out of the inning. Jimenez then appeared to strike out pinch hitter Justin Smoak on a 2-2 fastball, but Lentz thought otherwise. Smoak also took a close 3-2 pitch to draw a bases loaded walk, scoring the tying run.
Luckily, the Tigers bounced back quickly. Niko Goodrum tripled to right-center off Seung-hwan Oh with one out in the top of the 10th, and scored easily on Jose Iglesias’ sacrifice fly to right field. The Tigers initially turned to Buck Farmer in the bottom of the 10th, but he was quickly removed after allowing a leadoff single to Lourdes Gurriel. Blaine Hardy came on and retired all three batters he faced, sealing a win (and a surprising series split) for the road team.
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Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
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Mike Fiers (8 IP, 1 ER)
Blaine Hardy (1st career save)
Niko Goodrum (3B, game-winning run)
Jeimer Candelario (3-4)