Janssen falters as Tigers beat Blue Jays 5-4
TORONTO (AP) — For the first time in more than four years, Casey Janssen gave up two home runs in a relief appearance.
His rough night couldn’t have come at a worse time for the struggling Toronto Blue Jays.
Nick Castellanos tied the game with a two-run homer off Janssen in the ninth inning and Eugenio Suarez followed with a go-ahead shot as the Tigers rallied to beat the Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night, Toronto’s sixth loss in seven games.
“I feel bad for the boys,” Janssen said. “We’re in a race. Those things burn a little bit more.”
Janssen (3-1) hadn’t allowed two home runs in one game since July 26, 2010, when Baltimore’s Matt Wieters and Luke Scott connected off him.
Manager John Gibbons wasn’t faulting Janssen, who blew his third save in 21 chances.
“Casey’s been so good this year,” Gibbons said. “They just came out swinging and got to him pretty quick.”
Al Alburquerque (3-1) worked 1 2-3 innings for the win and Joe Nathan finished for his 24th save in 29 chances, getting Josh Thole to foul out with the bases loaded.
Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez left in the fifth inning with a strained muscle in his right side. Sanchez will return to Detroit Saturday for further tests, including an MRI.
“There was no way I could throw another pitch,” said Sanchez, who was injured on a pickoff throw to first. “I felt a lot of pain in that moment.”
Left-hander Blaine Hardy took over for Sanchez, who allowed four runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Leading 1-0, Toronto made it 4-0 with a three-run second, thanks in part to a poor defensive inning by Martinez in left field.
Munenori Kawasaki hit a leadoff double on a ball that clanged off Martinez’s glove. Kawasaki went to third before scoring on a suicide squeeze bunt by Ryan Goins, who was safe at first when Sanchez fumbled the ball.
After Jose Reyes singled, Goins scored and Reyes went to third when Martinez couldn’t make a clean play on Melky Cabrera’s ground ball single. Jose Bautista capped it with an RBI single.
Cabrera returned to the lineup after leaving Thursday’s game two innings after being hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez.
Detroit cut the deficit in half on a two-run double by Ian Kinsler in the third.
Blue Jays: First baseman Adam Lind felt tightness in his back following his first rehab game with Toronto’s Gulf Coast League team Thursday and did not play Friday. General manager Alex Anthopoulos said Lind remains on track to rejoin the Blue Jays early next week.
Tigers: Outfielder Torii Hunter returned to the lineup for the first time since being hit on the left hand by a pitch from New York’s Dellin Betances on Aug. 5. Hunter wore a pad over the batting glove on his swollen hand. Suarez returned for the first time since spraining his left knee sliding into second base on Aug. 4.
Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer will face Blue Jays rookie right-hander Marcus Stroman on Saturday afternoon. Scherzer was a hard-luck loser in his last start, allowing two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 defeat at Yankee Stadium. The loss was just his second in eight starts.
QUICK OFF THE MARK
The Blue Jays opened the scoring for the 46th time this season, the highest total of any American League team. Toronto has outscored opponents 15-2 in the first inning of its past 15 games.
WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
Hunter said Detroit’s veterans were excited by the ninth-inning homers from Castellanos and Suarez, both of whom are in their first full season. “They had us veteran guys all pumped up and screaming like little kids, like we just got ice cream,” Hunter said.