TORONTO — There was a sense of relief in the Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse after their 9-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.
The victory Youth Mikko Koivu Jersey , propelled by a grand slam from Nicholas Castellanos, a career-best four hits by Niko Goodrum and seven strong innings by starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, ended an 11-game losing streak.
It was the Tigers’ longest losing streak since Aug. 13-23, 2003. They have not lost 12 in a row since 1996.
“It’s good to hear the music playing out there and guys smiling,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Tigers have a chance to escape the Rogers Centre with a split in the four-game series by winning the finale on Monday afternoon.
The Tigers will start right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4, 4.04 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.00).
The Tigers had a team meeting before the game.
“It was just a casual talk,” Gardenhire said. “It wasn’t this rah-rah (speech). … I just let them talk and I just said to them, ‘Tell me what we need to do.’ Some guys spoke up and that’s all I wanted to hear. We’re playing hard. We’ve lost 11 in a row up to this point. These guys have been playing, man. They’ve been in every game. We’ve had a chance to win a bunch of these games.”
The Tigers (37-48) were able to put together a five-run fifth inning with a rally that started with two outs against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who was 6-0 in his previous eight starts. They added two runs in the sixth, also with a rally that began with two out.
The losing streak was the longest by two games in the majors this season and the longest since the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11 in a row last September.
“We’ve had our chances over the last 10 or 11 games,” Zimmermann said. “It’s just a matter of if we’re going to cash in when we’ve got guys in scoring position. We were able to do that today.”
The Blue Jays (39-44) are expected to trade Happ before the July 31 deadline. When he departed in the sixth inning, the Canada Day crowd gave him an ovation.
“I did notice Womens Kris Russell Jersey , and I certainly appreciate that,” Happ said. “Maybe it was appreciation for how the season has gone so far or whatever you might take from it, that’s kind of what I took from it. That’s a nice feeling, certainly nicer than potentially getting booed, not that I would expect that at all, either.”
The Tigers face a pitcher who made his major-league debut Tuesday against the Astros in Houston in Borucki. He took the loss after allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.
Fiers pitched seven strong innings Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, but took the loss despite allowing only one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five.
Fiers has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, five as a starter, and is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA. He made two starts against Toronto last season and was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. In two career starts at the Rogers Centre, Fiers is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA.
The only disappointing news for the Tigers Sunday came from a hamstring injury to center fielder Leonys Martin, who hobbled off the field after a beating out an RBI bunt single in the fifth inning. It was at first announced as a cramp, but Gardenhire said the injury was severe enough to put him on the disabled list. Another player will be brought in for the game Monday.
The day was not a complete loss for the Blue Jays. In the ninth inning, center fielder Kevin Pillar made a spectacular leaping catch to rob Castellanos of what would have been his second homer of the day.
Gardenhire said even Castellanos appreciated Pillar’s catch Devan Dubnyk Jersey , although it cost him a homer.
“That was amazing,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a long run, to climb the wall like that and make that play, the timing, the whole package that just tells you how special an athlete he is.”
The teams are 3-3 in the season series.
PHOENIX — Give Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray an “A” in self-evaluation.
Ray won his final six regular-season decisions in 2017 after missing a month with a concussion suffered when he was struck in the head by a line drive in St. Louis on July 28. Then last Wednesday, he spun six scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory over Florida in his first start after missing 58 days with an oblique injury.
Ray will face the Cardinals again on Monday, in the first game of a three-game series at Chase Field. Right-hander Carlos Martinez will start for the Cardinals.
“Obviously, I’m not going to go out there if I don’t feel 100 percent,” said Ray, a first-time All-Star in 2017.
“There is a constant line of communication between me and Torey (manager Lovullo). He was open with me. He wanted me to make another rehab start. I made it clear that I felt like I was ready. It felt good to be back on the mound and to be good to put up some zeroes for this team and help us win.”
Both Arizona and St. Louis enter the series after being swept, the Diamondbacks losing three to NL West rival San Francisco and the Cardinals dropping three to NL East-leading Atlanta.
That was only a slight hiccup for the Diamondbacks, whose 19 victories in June tied for the most in the majors. They led the majors with 11 triples and were second in runs in the month. Starting pitchers had 15 victories, also the most in the majors, capped by wins by Ray and Zack Greinke in the final two games of a four-game series in Miami early last week.
The D-backs have lost only two of their last 10 series Rod Brind'Amour Jersey , both to San Francisco, while recovering from a 2-15 skid in May.
“You are going to have ups and downs,” Ray said. “That was a little bit of an extended down, but good teams find a way to break out of that. I feel like we’ve done that this month.
“It’s another thing we have going on. The dynamic in this clubhouse, we are never down on ourselves. Guys were in here playing music every single day. Nothing has changed. We understand that there is a process, and you have to stick with it. The second that you start changing who you are and over-analyzing a little bit, it can weigh on you.
“We just come in there every day like it’s a new day. We prepare every day the same way, and we don’t change anything.”
The Cardinals have been careening a bit. They have lost four in a row after winning four straight, a run that ended another three-game losing streak. They have lost 12 of 18 since peaking at eight games over .500 on June 11.
St. Louis has scored 11 runs in their last four games after clobbering Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, scoring six runs off his in 1 2/3 innings, the shortest outing of his major league career.
Martinez (4-4) won that game, his first in five starts since returning from the disabled list, giving up two runs with eight strikeouts in six innings. He had a 1.62 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list and has 6.75 ERA in five starts since returning. His issue has been walks, 43 in 72 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals have considered moving first baseman Jose Martinez to the outfield in an attempt to increase their run production Andrei Vasilevskiy Jersey , but Martinez started at first again Sunday.
“The bat has to be (in the lineup),” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters over the weekend. “You’ve got a guy who’s been as consistent as anybody we’ve had all season. So you’ve got to find a place for him.
“We’ve never ruled out the outfield. None of that is out of the question. We haven’t featured that yet but it’s something that has been in the conversation. He’s been doing work out there, too. But, right now, it’s how do we improve at first base?”
Carlos Martinez has had good success against Arizona, with a 2.88 ERA in eight appearances. That ERA ranks 20th among active major leaguers with at least 30 innings against the Diamondbacks. Martinez has been even more successful at Chase Field, with a 2.11 ERA, fifth among those with at least 20 innings.
Martinez has given up one homer against the Diamondbacks, that coming to Gerardo Parra in their first meeting. Since then, he has gone 33 1/3 innings without giving up a homer to them.
Ray (3-0) is 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals. He was removed after being struck by Luke Voit liner in the second inning of the July 28 start last season.
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