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Cabrera delivers big hit as Tigers beat Blue Jays

The SportsXchange

TORONTO - Miguel Cabrera's back was a little tight after making a diving stop on an infield hit during the Toronto Blue Jays' four-run first inning.

But that did not stop the Detroit Tigers' third baseman. In the second inning, he hit his 26th homer of the season, a three-run drive to center field that put the Tigers (44-38) ahead.

And after the Blue Jays later tied the game, it was Torii Hunter's turn. His fourth single of the night, an infield hit that deflected off the leg of Blue Jays' reliever Neil Wagner (1-3) in the eighth inning, gave the Tigers a 7-6 victory.

Colby Rasmus drove in four runs with a double and a home run for the Blue Jays (41-42) before a crowd of 27,189 at Rogers Centre.

But the game-changing play came from an ailing Cabrera.

"From the first inning on, he made that diving play and his back kind of stiffened up," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Cabrera said he first felt it while hitting before the game.

"It was tight in batting practice," he said. "Hopefully it's not a big deal and I can come in tomorrow, do treatment and be ready to play."

"We'll play that one by ear," Leyland said.

Blue Jays starter Chien-Ming Wang could not hold a 4-0 first-inning lead and allowed eight hits and six runs in 1 2/3 innings. The right-hander also pitched 1 2/3 innings in his previous start, allowing seven runs against the Boston Red Sox on June 27.

After the game, Wang, who is 1-1 with a 7.13 earned-run average in five starts, was designated for assignment and right-hander Todd Redmond was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

"He competes, he's a real pro and we enjoy having him around," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Wang. "We hope he chooses to stay and pitch for us in Triple A with a shot to come back."

Tigers right-hander Doug Fister allowed six runs and six hits in the first two innings but gathered himself and pitched six innings, allowing only a single to his final 14 batters.

"He settled down and had a couple of quick innings there, which helped," Leyland said. "He ended up doing a heck of a job. He could have caved in a little bit but he didn't cave in. That was huge for us. I think his back was kind of stiff all night. It loosened up a bit as the game went on."

Right-hander Al Alburquerque (1-1) replaced Fister to pitch the seventh and allowed only a walk to pick up the win. Right-hander Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Gibbons was ejected for the fourth time this season by plate umpire Alan Porter as he came out to argue a foul ball call during Munenori Kawasaki's at-bat with one out and nobody on base in the ninth.

"My complaint was he that he should get some help," Gibbons said. "That's all they do in baseball now, the umpires get together, maybe too much. He called it a foul ball and I didn't think he fouled it. I thought he pulled the bat back, I didn't think he touched it."

Kawasaki eventually struck out. Jose Reyes grounded out to end the game.

The Blue Jays used left-handers Juan Perez, Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil to take the game to eighth inning when right-hander Wagner took over.

Wagner allowed a leadoff single to Omar Infante who took second on Alex Avila's sacrifice and moved to third on Austin Jackson's fly out to deep center. He scored on Hunter's infield single to shortstop that deflected off Wagner. Reyes had to change direction to reach the ball before throwing to first as Hunter made it on a close play.

"It caught me right in the back of the calf," Wagner said. "It's not the best to be three pitches in and have the guy at third but having said that if I execute a better pitch there (to Hunter) it'll work out. I checked it on the video and it was a little bit off the plate but it was up and it was just enough."

The Blue Jays scored four runs in the first inning. Reyes led off with a single, took second when Rajai Davis became the major-league leading 13th batter hit by Fister this season and scored on Jose Bautista's single. Rasmus drove in two runs with a ground-rule double to left and eventually scored on Josh Thole's infield single to third.

The Tigers scored six runs in the second, three on Cabrera's homer, one on a double by Infante and two on a double by Avila.

The Blue Jays tied the score in the bottom of the second when Rasmus hit his 15th homer of the season after Bautista walked with two outs.

NOTES: Avila (bruised forearm) was activated from the disabled list. ... The Tigers will appeal the six-game suspension assessed RHP Rick Porcello for what Major League Baseball ruled was intentionally throwing a pitch at Tampa Bay OF-INF Ben Zobrist in the first inning of Sunday's game at Tropicana Field. ... The Tigers expect RHP Anibal Sanchez (shoulder strain) to return from the disabled list to start Saturday at Cleveland. ... The Blue Jays were without C J.P. Arencibia (shoulder), 1B Edwin Encarnacion (right hamstring) and Adam Lind (back) in the starting lineup. ... Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (skull fracture, knee sprain) and RHP Brandon Morrow (forearm) are not expected to return until August. ... RHP Max Scherzer (12-0, 3.10 ERA) will start Wednesday for the Tigers against Toronto RHP Josh Johnson (1-2, 5.21 ERA).
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