Tigers 6, Blue Jays 2

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DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers entered Monday night trying to avoid joining the 1904 Washington Senators in the record books.

They were successful, thanks to some strategy that the dead-ball Senators would have appreciated.

Detroit got back-to-back bunt singles from Andres Torres and Alex Sanchez to key a five-run fifth inning as the Tigers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2.

With the win, Detroit (19-61) avoided tying the Senators for the worst 80-game start since 1901.

“I’ve only been able to say this a few times, but it feels great to win one,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “It never gets old.”

Detroit trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, but Ramon Santiago led off with a walk and scored on A.J. Hinch’s first homer as a Tiger, a long drive into the left-field stands. His last homer came with the Royals last Sept. 2 in Oakland.

Torres and Sanchez then dropped their bunts.

“Andres and Alex—the bottom and top of our order—created a little havoc out there and put some pressure on them,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “That’s really what I would like to do more often, but we’ve had a difficult time doing it.”

Warren Morris made it 3-1 with an RBI double down the right-field line. Dmitri Young and Kevin Witt added consecutive sacrifice flies to give the Tigers a four-run lead.

“I wasn’t worried about the home run—I threw a good pitch and Hinch just put a great swing on it,” losing pitcher Cory Lidle said. “But the bunts got to me a little. After that, I just let them keep going and they made it a huge inning.”

Another bunt single by Sanchez helped Detroit add an insurance run in the seventh.

“I think with Andres hitting ninth and me hitting first, we’ve got a lot more opportunities,” Sanchez said. “We can get the fast runners on base for the people behind us.”

Mike Maroth (3-12) allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out four to improve to 2-1 in his last four starts.

“I’m sick of losing,” he said. “I made some pitches when I needed to and the offense did a great job of moving runners over.”

Canadian Chris Mears, who made his major league debut in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, pitched two perfect innings in relief.

“That was a thrill,” he said. “I grew up watching the Blue Jays and lived in Toronto for seven or eight years.”

Lidle (10-6) lost his second straight start, giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks in six-plus innings.

“I actually think I threw the ball pretty well tonight,” he said. “But one inning made the whole outing worthless. Those bunts are probably grounders to first on the turf at SkyDome, but they grow the grass long here for a reason.”

Toronto took a 1-0 lead on Shannon Stewart’s sacrifice fly in the fifth, and after Detroit’s outburst, Vernon Wells made it 5-2 with a seventh-inning RBI single. Maroth, though, struck out Carlos Delgado with runners on the corners to end the inning.

“That kid knows how to pitch,” Tosca said. “But our approach at the plate was not good tonight. I’m not sure why, but we weren’t grinding like we normally do.”

Detroit got its seventh-inning run on Eric Munson’s pinch-hit RBI single.

Notes

Wells’ two singles gave him 200 total bases for the season. He remains on pace to break Delgado’s team record of 378. … Detroit’s five-run fifth inning matched a season high. … The Tigers had three bunt singles in the game, two by Sanchez. … Tom Wilson was the victim of spectacular defensive plays in back-to-back at-bats—1B Carlos Pena made a running catch of his sixth-inning pop-up and RF Torres made a diving catch on his sinking liner inthe eighth.

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