The Blue Jays and Tigers continue their four-game series Wednesday night at Comerica Park after Toronto took the first two games of the set.
Toronto (61-59) scored only four runs while getting swept in three straight by Cleveland over the weekend, but has bounced back in this series, scoring 13 runs while tallying 20 hits - six for extra bases.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays rallied for a 6-4 win, scoring four runs in the seventh inning. Vernon Wells hit a two-out, two-run double to cap the big inning while Adam Lind had three hits and also drove in two.
“This was a real team effort,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “It was a good win because it was a total team effort. We battled from the start. It something that we haven’t done in a long time.”
The Tigers lost for the ninth time in 12 games despite two home runs from Gary Sheffield. Zach Miner allowed one run over six innings, but Detroit’s bullpen, 1-5 with a 4.22 ERA since the All-Star break, stumbled again. They have converted just three saves in their last 12 opportunities.
“We’ve been losing too many games in the seventh inning and later,” said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. “You can’t do that.”
Adding to Leyland’s concerns about the bullpen is a possible injury to Joel Zumaya. The right-hander underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and did not join the Tigers until late June. He is 0-2 with a 3.47 ERA and has blown four saves after allowing two runs, two hits and three walks without recording an out Tuesday.
“We’re getting him checked out. We’re very suspicious he’s not right,” Leyland said. “He’s not right - I know that for a fact. I don’t know if he’s hurt - but he’s not right.”
With Tuesday’s loss, Detroit (58-61) fell to 2-4 against Toronto this season.
The bullpen isn’t the only part of the Tigers’ staff that has struggled. Kenny Rogers (8-9, 4.92 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday trying to avoid losing his fourth straight start. Rogers, who has an 8.44 ERA in his last three starts, pitched seven innings Friday against Oakland, allowing four runs - three earned - and six hits in a 4-2 loss.
Rogers is 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 29 starts and 27 relief appearances against Toronto, going 13-9 with a 3.98 ERA as a starter. He gave up four runs and three hits over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays on April 18.
David Purcey (1-3, 7.40) makes his sixth career start and fourth since being called up from the minors on July 25. He lost his second straight start Friday against Cleveland, allowing three runs and six hits over six innings of a 5-2 loss. The rookie right-hander walked two and struck out a season-high eight.
“We’ve got to try and be patient with him and hope he learns something every time he goes out there,” Gaston said.
Purcey made his major league debut April 18 against the Tigers and surrendered one run and two hits in 4 1-3 innings. He walked seven, however, and did not receive a decision in the 8-4 loss.
The Blue Jays haven’t won three straight in the same series at Detroit since September 2003.