DETROIT (AP)—Kenny Rogers didn’t blame himself that the first three hitters reached base in third inning.
It was the fourth batter he wasn’t happy about.
After Toronto had loaded the bases on a walk, a bunt and a bad-hop grounder, Rogers gave up a grand slam to Vernon Wells. Those were the Blue Jays’ only runs in a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
“That inning was unfortunate in a lot of ways,” said Rogers, who lost his fourth straight start. “No one really did anything wrong—I just wish I could have gotten that pitch to Vernon down a little more.”
The grand slam and six shutout innings from David Purcey helped Toronto win their third straight, all in Detroit.
The Tigers have lost 10 of 13.
“This is dangerous, because we’re doing just enough to lose right now,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s not good. We have to start doing the things that it takes to win.”
Purcey (2-3) ended a two-start losing streak, giving up two singles and three walks. He struck out four, and has allowed one earned run in 10 1-3 innings against the Tigers this season.
“I felt really good out there,” the rookie said. “I didn’t throw enough strikes early, but I started to relax about the fourth inning. That’s when I started making the pitches I wanted.”
Marco Scutaro led off Toronto’s third with a walk, and David Eckstein bunted down the first-base line. Rogers and first baseman Miguel Cabrera both started for the ball, and Eckstein beat Cabrera to the base.
“You get a walk, an aggravating bunt, and then a double play grounder that takes a bad hop,” Leyland said. “Kenny did very well tonight, but we’ve been getting bad hops lately.”
Wells followed with his fifth career grand slam, a fly ball just over the glove of left fielder Ryan Raburn.
The Tigers didn’t get a hit until Santiago’s single with two outs in the fifth, and only got one runner into scoring position against Purcey.
“He did an outstanding job,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “He just has to work on getting first-pitch strikes and getting ahead of hitters.”
The game was delayed by rain for 49 minutes in the top of the seventh inning, and neither starting pitcher returned after play resumed.
After getting only two hits in the first eight innings, the Tigers put together some offense in the ninth.
Placido Polanco started the inning with a walk, and Magglio Ordonez followed with a single. Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs had to leave the game after spraining his right ankle while backing up third base on the play.
“I didn’t want to go out there and see a bone sticking out of his leg,” Gaston said. “He’ll be reassessed in a couple days, but if he can’t pitch, it will be a big loss for the team.”
Tigers DH Gary Sheffield was ejected by home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth after flipping his bat following a called third strike in the seventh inning.
The Tigers placed RHP Joel Zumaya (shoulder) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Francis Beltran from Triple-A Toledo. … Sheffield said before the game that he wasn’t concerned about media reports that the Tigers put him on waivers on Tuesday. “I don’t pay attention to it—I’ve been on waivers plenty of times,” he said. “Lots of great players are put on waivers but it is only a story when it is someone like Manny Ramirez or me—someone that people have an opinion about.” … Downs had his scoreless streak snapped at 17 2-3 innings.