Peralta, Laird homer as Tigers beat Blue Jays 7-1
His manager and teammates see an air of confidence in the Detroit right-hander, one that’s turned him into a consistent winner.
Scherzer (10-9) gave up six hits in eight innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
“You can see him on the mound, he has a mound presence that is saying ‘Hey, I’m doing pretty good and I feel pretty good about myself,”’ Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “You’d be a fool if you can’t see that.”
“He’s confident right now and it kind of bleeds into us and what we’re trying to do,” Inge said. “It’s good whenever you have a guy that, when he toes the rubber, you know he’s going to take it to the other team.”
Scherzer, however, denies feeling any more confident when he takes the hill.
“I’m pitching the same way as I did my whole life,” he said. “Every start has been the exact same.”
Results, however, have been far better for Scherzer since he was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on May 30. He’s 9-5 with a 2.20 ERA in 17 starts since.
“Ever since he got back from Triple-A he’s got that confidence where he believes in his other pitches, like his changeup and slider,” Laird said. “When he started doing that, you could tell.”
Tigers starting pitchers are 6-0 with an 1.09 ERA in the past seven games, striking out 43 while walking seven. Detroit is 6-1 in that span.
“As a whole, we’re putting it together,” Scherzer said. “We’re doing a much better job of not walking people and when that happens, you allow the defense to make plays behind you. Nine times out of 10, they do. When we’re not beating ourselves, we can be a pretty good group. That’s the key to our success right now.”
“We did let one get away yesterday so it’s nice to bounce back,” Leyland said.
Peralta hit a three-run drive and Laird added a two-run shot in Detroit’s six-run fourth inning. It’s the eighth time in eight road games that the Tigers have hit two or more home runs. They’ve hit 19 in that span.
The Blue Jays lead the majors with 193 homers this season, including an ML-high 108 at home.
Detroit did all its damage against Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero(notes) (10-8) in the fourth, sending nine men to the plate. Ramon Santiago(notes) led off with a single, Johnny Damon(notes) walked and Santiago went to third when Miguel Cabrera(notes) flied out to deep center. Ryan Raburn(notes) followed with a grounder to third, but Edwin Encarnacion’s(notes) throw to second pulled Aaron Hill(notes) off the bag as Santiago scored and Damon advanced to third. Peralta followed with a homer to left, his 13th.
Romero, away from the team the past two days because of strep throat, allowed six runs, three earned, and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked five, matching a season high, and struck out four.
“I didn’t pitch like I wanted to and I left some balls over the middle and cost us the game,” Romero said. “I don’t want to use the whole I was sick excuse because I felt great.”
Toronto had two hits and a stolen base off Scherzer in the third but failed to score. Encarnacion was thrown out at second by Raburn trying to stretch a single into a double, and Fred Lewis(notes) was thrown out at third after hitting a single to left and stealing second.
Cabrera doubled to center in the ninth, giving him 40 this season and making him only the fourth player in Detroit history with 40 or more doubles and 30 or more homers in a single season. Hank Greenberg, Bobby Higginson and Rudy York were the others. Cabrera has 31 homers.
NOTES: Scherzer has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six straight starts. … Tigers OF Brennan Boesch(notes) was held out of the starting lineup. … Toronto 2B Hill batted eighth for the second straight game. … Encarnacion’s error was his team-leading 14th of the season. … Romero lost for the first time since July 22 at Detroit. … Laird has hit safely in a season-high seven straight games.