Tigers 10, Blue Jays 7<

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TORONTO (AP)—B.J. Ryan is one tough closer, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. That just made Marcus Thames’ clutch hit Saturday all the more sweeter for the Detroit Tigers.

Thames hit a go-ahead, two-run double off Ryan in the ninth inning to help the Tigers rally for a 10-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Toronto led 7-6 when Ryan issued consecutive walks to Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen with one out in the ninth. Thames, pinch hitting for Sean Casey, then dropped a broken-bat double into left field to give the Tigers the lead.

“(Ryan) is sneaky, he’s got tough stuff,” said Thames, whose hit came on an 0-2 pitch. “He hit my bat just in the right spot for me and the ball fell in there.

“It was awesome,” he added. “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.”

Thames was surprised by Ryan’s wildness.

“I’ve never seen him like that,” he said. “He’s a tough guy but he was just leaving the ball up a little bit more than I’ve ever seen.”

Craig Monroe drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Thames scored on Royce Clayton’s fielding error as Detroit chased Ryan (0-2), who blew his second save in five chances.

“There’s no excuse for that,” Ryan said. “I was just missing a lot, throwing he ball up in the zone.”

Todd Jones closed it out for his sixth save in as many opportunities.

“You don’t win those very often, especially with B.J. Ryan,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “You’re not going to get him very often. We were fortunate today.

“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.”

Leyland also praised reliever Jason Grilli, who worked three scoreless innings to keep the Tigers close.

“Grilli won the game for us in my opinion,” he said. “If I was a teammate and not a manager, I’d take him out to eat tonight.”

Vernon Wells hit a three-run drive, Alex Rios had a two-run shot and Lyle Overbay a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who blew leads of 4-0, 6-4 and 7-6.

Inge hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who avoided their first losing streak of the season.

The Tigers tied it at 6 in the eighth against reliever Jason Frasor. Monroe doubled off the top of the center-field wall and scored when Curtis Granderson hit a broken-bat single to left.

Overbay then led off the bottom half with a drive to center off Wilfredo Ledezma (2-0) for his first homer of the season.

The Blue Jays jumped on Detroit starter Chad Durbin in the first. Rios and Adam Lind singled before Wells homered to left, his second. Wells’ homer snapped an 0-8 skid.

Toronto added one more in the second when Clayton’s sacrifice fly drove in Aaron Hill.

Rios, who has started the season with an 11-game hitting streak, hit a two-run homer to center in the fourth, his second.

The Tigers began their rally in the third when Inge scored on Ivan Rodriguez’s single. Inge’s two-run drive in the fourth cut it to 4-3. Ordonez doubled in Sheffield in the fifth and again in the seventh to help Detroit pull within one.

“Whether it’s dramatic fashion, whether it’s just playing nine hard innings, we give it all we’ve got,” Grilli said.

Durbin allowed six runs and eight hits over four innings. He walked one and struck out two.

A.J. Burnett gave up four runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings for the Blue Jays. He walked one and struck out five.

Notes

Detroit infielder Omar Infante made his first start of the season. … Toronto OF Reed Johnson traveled to Florida on Saturday to see a specialist about a herniated disc in his back. The Blue Jays put Johnson on the 15-day disabled list on Friday. … Troy Glaus (sore left heel) missed his second straight game. The Blue Jays hope he can return Tuesday to face Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox.

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