Blue Jays shut down by Verlander

There is a simple scouting report on Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Get to him early.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero falls to the mound after catching a line drive by Detroit Tiger Austin Jackson in Detroit

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero falls to the mound after catching a line drive by Detroit Tiger Austin Jackson in Detroit

Tigers 5 Blue Jays 2

DETROIT — There is a simple scouting report on Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Get to him early.

That’s why, even though the Toronto Blue Jays led 2-0 after the second inning Thursday, manager Cito Gaston knew his team probably hadn’t done enough.

Toronto left the bases loaded in the first and, after John Buck’s two-run homer in the second, couldn’t get a runner home from third later in the inning. Sure enough, Verlander didn’t allow another run as the Tigers rallied for a 5-2 victory.

“We had more opportunities than we took in the first couple innings, that’s for sure,” Gaston said.

“It’s good to get two runs off the guy, but you don’t want to miss chances against one of the premier pitchers in the game.”

After giving up two runs on four hits and two walks in the first two innings, Verlander (12-5) only allowed four baserunners in his last six shutout innings.

“This was definitely satisfying, because I was able to abandon my game plan early, completely revamp the way I was pitching, and still have enough success to go eight innings and get us a win,” Verlander said. “I went to more off-speed stuff and kept them off balance.”

Ricky Romero (7-7) took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits in seven-plus innings.

“Ricky threw the ball very well,” Gaston said.

“But they’ve got Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera in the middle of their batting order. It’s tough to get those guys out time after time.”

Damon started the eighth with a walk, bringing Shawn Camp out of the Toronto bullpen to replace Romero. Ordonez singled, moving Damon to second, and Cabrera followed with his third hit — a tie-breaking double into the left-centre field gap.

Cabrera has reached base in 32 of 33 games and is hitting .347 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs.

“He’s one of the best players in the game, and at some point he’ll probably go down as one of the best to ever play the game if he keeps his health,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “You don’t find guys that have that kind of power and that kind of elasticity in their swings. When he’s locked in, he’s as good as it gets. That’s just the way it is.”

Ryan Raburn’s single gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead, and Gerald Laird added a sacrifice fly.

Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 20th save as Detroit won its second straight after a season-worst seven-game losing streak. Toronto lost for the third time in four games.

Both teams missed several chances to break the game open.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the first on a double and two walks, but Verlander got Aaron Hill to pop out and end the inning.

In the second, though, Lyle Overbay led off with a double and John Buck followed with his 14th homer of the season. DeWayne Wise tripled with one out in the inning — Toronto’s fourth extra-base hit in the first 10 batters — but was left stranded.

“It isn’t like we never did anything the rest of the night,” Buck said. “After the second inning, every time we hit something hard, it was either right at someone, or they ran it down.”

The Tigers didn’t get their first hit until the fourth, when Damon’s one-out double started what looked like a promising rally. Ordonez walked, and Cabrera followed with an RBI single that put runners on the corners.

Raburn, though, struck out and Ordonez was easily thrown out when he tried to score after the third strike rolled a few feet away from the catcher.

The Tigers threatened another big inning in the fifth, but only got Austin Jackson’s tying RBI single before Ordonez grounded out with the bases loaded.

Toronto also lost a chance on the bases when Yunel Escobar was thrown out trying to stretch a two-run double in the seventh.

“I’m sure our coaches will talk to him about that play,” Gaston said. “You can’t go for third in that situation unless you know you are going to make it standing up. You can score just as easily from second with two out as you can from third.”

NOTES: Blue Jays OF Fred Lewis sat out the game after straining his ankle Wednesday, but is not expected to miss significant time . . . Tigers rookie LF Brennan Boesch got a day off after going 1-for-14 in Detroit’s three-game series against Texas . . . The Blue Jays recalled IF Mike McCoy from triple-A Toledo before the game and sent down starting pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, who lost Wednesday night to Kansas City.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives plan to introduce $20-per-tonne carbon price in climate plan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is pitching a $20-per-tonne carbon price… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says she has not received an official request from any other school board for a similar move to online learning. (Advocate file photo)
’Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

School boards can ask to move online for a number of reasons

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coordination Center of the Russian Government in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The centre was set up as a line of communication with the whole of Russia for analysing and collecting information, promptly using big data and solving arising problems. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Months after hack, US poised to announce sanctions on Russia

First retaliatory action against the Kremlin for last year’s hack

(File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support boards

In this photo taken Sunday, May 17, 2020, U.S. and Canadian flags fly atop the Peace Arch at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the border with Canada in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
A electric car is seen getting charged at parking lot in Tsawwassen, near Vancouver B.C., April, 6, 2018. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘Wrong signal:’ Federal ministers protest Saskatchewan’s electric vehicle tax

Two federal ministers are protesting Saskatchewan’s plan to bring in a tax… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s charities are looking to next week’s federal budget with hopes the Liberals will extend their sector a helping hand as they face the possibility of a prolonged and protracted road to recovery even after the economy reopens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Charities hope Liberals’ budget lends helping hand as sector eyes long recovery

OTTAWA — Canada’s charities are hoping the Liberals extend them a helping… Continue reading

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question about vaccines during a weekly news conference, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 in Ottawa. Njoo says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone would likely not have thwarted the third wave of COVID-19 in many parts of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Faster vaccines alone could not have stopped third wave: deputy public health officer

A top federal public health official says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone… Continue reading

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims addresses the airline’s annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

OTTAWA — WestJet CEO Ed Sims says the federal government’s aid package… Continue reading

British Columbia Premier John Horgan (centre, blue jacket) is drummed into the Lower Post Residential School by Kaska drummers in Lower Post, B.C. on Orange Shirt Day in a 2019 handout photo. A former residential school building known as a place of pain and fear for residents of the remote British Columbia community of Lower Post will be demolished and replaced after decades of lobbying efforts by local Indigenous leaders. The federal and B.C. governments say construction on a new $13.5 building project is set to start in June and expected to be complete next year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Manu Keggenhoff MANDATORY CREDIT
Residential school building at Lower Post, B.C., to be demolished, replaced

VICTORIA — A former residential school building in the remote British Columbia… Continue reading

A 60-year-old COVID-19 patient fights for his life, desperately gasping for air as head intensivist Dr. Ali Ghafouri, centre, provides life saving medical care in an emergency situation in the intensive care unit at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The patient was intubated and put on a ventilator successfully. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Sicker and younger’: Toronto ICU copes with pressure during third wave of pandemic

TORONTO — Intensive care nurse Jane Abas is assessing her patient, checking… Continue reading

FILE - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during the “Topping Off” ceremony of the New York Islanders new home, the UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mary Altaffer
Islanders close to selling out inaugural season at UBS Arena

Arena capacity of about 17,000 for hockey

Most Read