Fulmer, J.D. Martinez lead Tigers over Blue Jays 11-1
By DAVE HOGG
Jul. 16, 2017
DETROIT (AP) — Michael Fulmer is helping the Detroit Tigers enjoy baseball again.
One night after the Tigers threw 220 pitches in an ugly loss, Fulmer only needed 101 in his eight innings of Saturday night's 11-1 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"It's fun to play a game where you are scoring runs on offense and your pitcher is getting quick outs," third baseman Nicholas Castellanos said. "That's how you want to play every day."
Fulmer and Alex Wilson finished the game throwing 115 pitches, a far cry from Friday's 7-2 loss that saw the bullpen need 106 pitches to get 11 outs.
"It has a huge impact on the entire team when you aren't asking them to stand around on defense for 20 minutes every half-inning," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "The game goes stagnant in a hurry when you do that."
Castellanos, Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez homered for the Tigers. Martinez, the focus of numerous trade rumors, drove in five runs.
Fulmer (10-6) won his fourth straight start, giving up one run and two hits while walking one and striking out three.
"My walk came around to score, so that wasn't good, but this was obviously a very good game," said Fulmer, who made his first All-Star appearance earlier in the week. "I needed a game like this, where I avoided barrels and got a lot of weak contact."
Kendrys Morales had a clean single in the second inning, but the Blue Jays didn't get another hit until Troy Tulowitzki's infield single in the eighth.
"He was really aggressive and getting strike one as quickly as possible," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said. "He had a good fastball with movement and a good slider to go with it."
Francisco Liriano (5-5) took the loss, allowing five runs, three hits and four walks in two-plus innings. He struck out two.
Castellanos gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first with his 11th homer, and Jose Iglesias made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the second.
Liriano lost the strike zone in the third. He started the inning by walking Castellanos, Justin Upton and Cabrera, then went 2-0 on Martinez before coming out with neck tightness.
Mike Bolsinger entered the game, and Martinez hit his first pitch for a two-run single. Mikie Mahtook made it 5-0 later in the inning with a sacrifice fly.
"We've seen bouts of wildness before with him, but you could really see when the neck started bothering him," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Liriano. "He really lost it."
Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays led off the fourth with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on groundouts by Martin and Josh Donaldson.
The Tigers regained their five-run lead in the sixth when Upton's groundout scored Iglesias. Cabrera followed with a two-run homer to left, making it 8-1.
Martinez hit a three-run homer off Aaron Loup in the eighth.
Blue Jays: Reliever Joe Smith (shoulder) threw a scoreless inning Friday night for Triple-A Buffalo, and is scheduled to pitch for them again on Sunday before returning to the Blue Jays for their series against Boston.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (groin) threw a bullpen session on Saturday, but will throw again on Sunday before the Tigers decide if he's healthy enough to start Tuesday in Kansas City.
Cabrera got one of the most frustrating base hits of his career in the fourth inning. With Upton on second and two outs, Cabrera hit a 108-mph groundball to the left side of the infield, but the ball hit Upton's heel, meaning that he was automatically out while Cabrera was credited with a single.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (4-6, 5.17 ERA) will start the series finale on Sunday afternoon. Estrada won his only start against the Tigers, beating them 10-5 on July 5, 2015 at Comerica Park.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 5.89 ERA) will try to continue his renaissance on Sunday. After going to the minors in May, Sanchez has gone 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation in June.