American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, July 2nd (All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (43-38) at Toronto Blue Jays (41-41), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Doug Fister (6-5, 3.50) Toronto - Chien-Ming Wang (1-1, 5.24)
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Blue Jays take aim at an eighth straight victory at home on Tuesday night as they play the second contest of a four- game series versus the Detroit Tigers.
The Blue Jays returned to Rogers Centre for a Canada Day matinee having gone just 2-5 on a recent road trip to fall a game under .500. The return to Toronto did the club good as it pounded out 10 hits en route to an 8-3 victory.
Mark DeRosa hit a three-run homer and Jose Reyes added a solo shot as part of a three-hit day for the Blue Jays, who have not lost at home since June 9. The first six contests of their current home winning streak were part of a club record-tying string of 11 straight victories from June 11-23.
Backed with plenty of offense, R.A. Dickey won his third straight start, holding the Tigers to a pair of runs over seven innings.
Already without first baseman Adam Lind due to a back injury, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was a late scratch from the lineup because of a tight left hamstring.
"The team is beat up and the guys that played today came out and responded in a big way. It all started with Dickey, who had a great outing," said Toronto manager John Gibbons.
Detroit starter Jose Alvarez was chased out of the game after only three innings of work. He gave up five runs -- four earned -- on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in his fourth major league start.
Omar Infante went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, while Prince Fielder also went deep. However, Detroit lost for the sixth time in seven games to fall a half-game behind Cleveland for first place in the AL Central.
It marks the first time that the Tigers have not held at least a share of the division lead since May 23.
"We are a little snakebitten right now, as well as not swinging as good as we can so the combination of those things is normally not a good one," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland on the team's hitting woes.
Leyland is expected to insert catcher Alex Avila back into the starting lineup Tuesday in his first action since June 16. Avila has been on the disabled list due to a right forearm bruise and is expected to be activated before this game.
Avila is hitting .271 with five homers and 13 RBI in 48 games this year. He batted .242 in eight rehab games at Triple-A.
He'll catch Doug Fister, who has lost four of his past five decisions and is 6-5 through 16 starts this year despite a solid 3.50 earned run average.
The right-hander was rocked for six runs and 11 hits over just 3 1/3 innings of a loss to Boston on June 21, but rebounded last Thursday to hold the Los Angeles Angels to a run on seven hits over seven innings. He did not factor into a 3-1 loss.
Fister, 29, is 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts versus the Blue Jays, clinching a series victory on April 11. He gave up just one run over eight innings of an 11-1 triumph.
The Blue Jays hope that Chien-Ming Wang can remain unbeaten versus the Tigers, who he is 5-0 against in six lifetime meetings with a 2.54 ERA.
The 33-year-old righty signed with Toronto on June 7 and has made four starts, going 1-1 with a 5.24 ERA. He turned in consecutive quality starts in which he allowed a run over 13 1/3 total innings before getting rocked in Boston on Thursday.
Wang was drilled for seven runs on six hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 frames of action, saying afterwards that he sinker was flat.
The Tigers have won six of their past eight versus the Blue Jays, taking two of three at home from April 9-11.
07/02 12:18:39 ET