Well this one was a bit of a reversal from Friday night’s contest. A tight, well pitched game where the Blue Jays scored first once again, but this time the Tigers lineup didn’t have the mojo for a comeback and fell 3-0 to even the series at a game apiece.
Much like Tyler Alexander on Friday, Wily Peralta followed an excellent game plan nearly to perfection against the Blue Jays on Saturday. He got double play balls seemingly at will, and on multiple occasions allowed a weak hit to a Jays hitter only to erase them moments later with yet another ground ball. His sinker command was particularly good, but at times he showed good feel for the splitter too, getting whiffs and extremely weak contact.
The pattern was set early. With one out in the bottom of the first, Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero singled to bring Teoscar Hernandez to the dish. Peralta threw a sinker in the dirt, and then raised the next one up at the bottom of the zone. Ground ball to third base. Double play. Jeimer Candelario was vacuuming up grounders and starting double plays all afternoon.
The lone big mistake of the day came in the second. With two outs, Santiago Espinal slapped a single to right field. The next hitter, Randal Grichuk, ambushed a hanging first pitch slider and drove it out to left center field for a two-run shot. However, this didn’t shake Peralta. In the third, Marcus Semien singled softly to center, bringing Guerrero to the dish again. Peralta got behind 3-0, and seemed to want nothing to do with him. The fourth pitch of the AB was a sinker in on Guerrero’s hands, and he swung 3-0, grounding it to Candelario who started another double play to end an inning.
Peralta cruised in the fourth, got another ground ball when needed to end a threat in the fifth, and needed just eight pitches to go through Guerrero, Hernandez, and Corey Dickerson in the bottom of the sixth. All in all a fine, and very efficient outing for Wily Peralta. Dustin Garneau did a nice job behind the dish, and as long as Peralta was executing the game plan he looked very difficult to square anything up against. Peralta got 12 ground ball outs to just two in the air. He only struck out two, but there were very few hard hit balls and he needed just 64 pitches to rack up six innings of two-run ball. We will take that happily.
Unfortunately, Hyun-Jin Ryu was pitching even better, and the Tigers lineup is paper thin at this point. Ryu has fantastic ability to spot his curveball and changeup on the outer edges, and he baffled Tigers hitters all game long by stealing early strikes away and saving the fastball to mix in as each AB progressed. The Tigers grounded into a few double plays of their own, and didn’t get a runner to second until Harold Castro doubled in the fifth, helped by a Hernandez bobble in right field. Still, Zack Short quickly fell behind Ryu and grounded out, while Garneau struck out to end the threat.
Erasmo Ramirez came on for the seventh and got a quick 1-2-3 inning. Yet once again it didn’t change the momentum of this game. The Tigers went 1-2-3 just as quickly in the top of the eighth. Ramirez got a quick out, then fought through a 10 pitch at-bat by Bo Bichette, during which Erasmo only threw one ball, finally punching out Bichette on a 94 mph fastball and expressing relief that he’d finally put him away. However, one mistake from Ramirez to Marcus Semien, the next Jays’ hitter, saw the infielder launch a 1-0 sinker into the upper deck in left for a solo shot. Ramirez responded with a really nice sequence to punch out Guerrero, but the damage was done.
Derek Hill led off the top of the ninth with a single back up the middle, but Schoop struck out against Jordan Romano, leaving it up to Robbie Grossman and Miguel Cabrera. Neither had much for Romano, as each struck out to bring this one to an end.