Detroit (37-104) at Toronto (71-70)

Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 21° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 7, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Blue Jays hope Josh Towers can pick up where Roy Halladay left off when they complete a three-game series with the major league-worst Detroit Tigers.

On Saturday, Halladay pitched the first extra-inning shutout in the major leagues since Jack Morris did for Minnesota in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Halladay blanked the Tigers for 10 innings as the Blue Jays pulled out a 1-0 win.

While Towers didn’t match Halladay’s performance, the right-hander was very impressive in his last start, a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 20.

Towers allowed two runs—one earned—while striking out three in his second career complete game.

Despite the strong showing against one the league’s top teams, scheduling forced the 26-year-old back into the bullpen, where he struggled much of last month.

During August, Towers went 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA as a starter and 1-0 with a 9.82 ERA in relief. His relief numbers, though, were bloated by a 17-2 loss to Oakland on Aug. 24 in which he allowed six runs.

Although he prefers starting, Towers said he didn’t mind being sent to the bullpen.

“It’s always good news. Now I know exactly when I’m pitching,” Towers said. “I didn’t mind working out of the bullpen, it didn’t make a difference to me.”

The Blue Jays actually didn’t need their bullpen Saturday despite being scoreless after nine innings against the Tigers.

Halladay, who is tied for the AL lead with 19 wins, didn’t allow a hit until pinch-hitter Kevin Witt doubled off the wall in left-center with two outs in the eighth. He finished with a three-hitter.

“Doc could have pitched until tomorrow,” catcher Kevin Cash said

Pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty drove in the winning run off Fernando Rodney when he singled over center fielder Alex Sanchez in the 10th.

The Blue Jays have won four of five and are over .500 for the first time since Aug. 3.

The Tigers have lost two straight after winning three in a row for only the fourth time this season. Detroit needs at least six wins in its final 21 games to avoid matching the post-1900 record of 120 losses in a season, set by the 1962 New York Mets.

STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 38 GB, AL Central. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 13 1/2 GB, AL East.

TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Chris Mears (0-1, 4.61 ERA). Mears, who made 19 relief appearances for Detroit from June 29-Aug. 17, makes his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo. In a 7-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday, Mears allowed three runs and seven hits over four innings.

BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Towers (4-1, 5.91 ERA). Towers is making his first start against Detroit.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Dmitri Young, .292 avg., 28 HRs, 73 RBIs and 70 runs; Sanchez, 32 SBs. Blue Jays - Vernon Wells, 311.; Carlos Delgado, 34 HRs, 124 RBIs and 104 runs; Eric Hinske, 7 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jays, 3-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - 1B Carlos Pena has just two multi-hit games in his last 21 starts. … The Tigers have dropped 11 of 13 on the road. … OF Bobby Higginson returned to the lineup Saturday after missing one game with a sore left hamstring. Blue Jays - The Blue Jays are 4-1 on a six-game homestand. … The Blue Jays will post their third three-game sweep of the Tigers in the last two seasons with a win Sunday. … OF Frank Catalanotto is 1-for-23 (.043) in his last five games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 18-53 on the road; Blue Jays - 33-37 at home.

INJURIES: Tigers - INF Eric Munson (thumb), 15-day DL; INF Dean Palmer (shoulder and neck), 60-day DL. Blue Jays - LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Mears StL vs. J. Towers LAD
1-3 Record 8-1
5.44 ERA 4.48
21 K 42
11 BB 7
1.48 WHIP 1.15