The Detroit Tigers haven’t seen very much of Comerica Park this season. The way they’re playing on the road, they may not mind.
Detroit looks to win its third straight series Sunday as it closes a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Since opening this season at home with a split of an abbreviated two-game series against the Blue Jays, the Tigers (7-4) have won six of nine - all on the road. They took two of three at Kansas City and Baltimore, and will try to make it three of four in Toronto (6-5) with a victory in this game.
Pinch-hitter Marcus Thames delivered a go-ahead, two-run double off Blue Jays closer B. J. Ryan in the ninth inning Saturday, helping Detroit rally for a 10-7 victory.
“(Ryan) is sneaky, he’s got tough stuff,” Thames said. “He hit my bat just in the right spot for me and the ball fell in there. That’s the way we won a lot of ballgames last year, coming back towards the end. You don’t want to win them all like that but sometimes it takes winning games like that to be a good ballclub.”
“I didn’t like our chances to be honest with you but if you keep playing, you’ve got a chance and that proved to be right,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
It was the second blown save in five chances for Ryan, who converted 38 of 42 opportunities in 2006, earning him his second All-Star appearance.
“There’s no excuse for that,” Ryan said. “I was just missing a lot, throwing the ball up in the zone.”
Detroit’s Todd Jones, meanwhile, worked a scoreless ninth for his major league-leading sixth save in as many chances. Jones has allowed three hits in 6 1-3 scoreless innings this season.
Inge had his first multi-hit game of the season with a home run and a single. He is 5-for-16 in his last four games after opening the season in an 0-for-19 skid.
Alex Rios, who is batting .333 (16-for-48), is the only Blue Jays player with a hit in every game this season.
Nate Robertson (2-0, 1.38 ERA) pitched well to defeat Toronto in his season debut, but was even better Tuesday in a 3-1 victory at Baltimore. He worked 7 1-3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
“He just mixes pitches well. He had a good sinker, a good slider and mixed in some changes,” Leyland said. “He’s a bulldog, you know, and he’s a real tough competitor.”
Robertson is 3-1 with a 4.88 ERA in six career games, including five starts, against Toronto.
Blue Jays right-hander Josh Towers (0-1, 4.76) hopes for a better outcome when he makes his second start of the season. He struggled Tuesday in a 6-3 loss to Kansas City, allowing six runs - three earned - and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Towers is 1-10 with an 8.70 ERA in his last 13 starts overall, dating to last season. He, has, however fared well against the Tigers, going 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts.
The Blue Jays will be without third baseman Troy Glaus for a third straight game as he continues to rest a tight hamstring and a bone spur in his left heal.
Glaus’ injury leaves the Blue Jays without two regular starters. Left fielder Reed Johnson was put on the 15-day DL Friday with a herniated disc in his lower back.