Blue Jays rally past Tigers
The Toronto Blue Jays managed to pick up B.J. Ryan this time, walking off with a dramatic win that their struggling closer nearly gave away.
Rod Barajas hit a sacrifice fly to centre to easily score pinch-runner Jose Bautista in the bottom of the ninth for a comeback 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night in Toronto.
Adam Lind got things started with a one-out walk off Brandon Lyon and Scott Rolen followed with a single before Lyle Overbay was walked intentionally. Barajas then brought his teammates out of the dugout to celebrate after his drive was caught.
The Blue Jays (2-0) were behind most of the game and looked to be finished when the Tigers (0-2) put up a two-spot in the seventh to open up a 3-0 lead. But Rolen started the eighth with a solo shot off Edwin Jackson, his only real blemish on the night, and after a two-out Marco Scutaro single versus Lyon (0-1) put two runners on, Aaron Hill ripped a three-run blast to put the hosts up 4-3.
That lead was short-lived, as Ryan (1-0) served up a solo shot to Brandon Inge in the top of the ninth to tie things up 4-4. The blown save will only add to the concerns that began during the spring over the drop in Ryan's velocity.
The late drama injected some life into the Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays experienced their customary Day 2 dip all the way down to 16,790 from 48,027 on opening day, draining the energy and exuberance out of the building along with the crowd.
Not helping matters was a booze ban, part of a three-date penalty for past violations of the stadium's liquor licence. Beer might have made the night pass easier for some fans, and perhaps make the place feel less like a library.
David Purcey, the sophomore lefty being counted on for big things in the Blue Jays rotation, opened his season with a strong seven innings, allowing three runs, two earned, although his final frame was a little messy.
Locked in a 1-0 duel through six, Purcey gave up a pair of runs in the seventh, one of them during a comical sequence. With runners on second and third and a run in on Marcus Thames's RBI double, Purcey was attempting to intentionally walk Inge when he threw a ball over Barajas's head.
Barajas quickly recovered the ball and relayed it to Purcey at the plate, forcing Carlos Guillen back to third, but Purcey's throw to second in a bid to catch Thames off the bag sailed into centre, allowing Guillen to score easily.
That should have been plenty for Jackson, 2-1 versus Toronto with a 3.33 ERA over four starts for the Rays last year, who left with one out and one on thanks to an Inge error in the eighth. Bobby Seay got one more out before Lyon came in and got rocked.
Jackson allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk over 7 1/3 innings in his Tigers debut.
Detroit opened the scoring in the third, when Inge led off with a liner to left field that ended up a double, although he was fortunate. Travis Snider made a strong throw to Hill at second but Inge eluded his tag to slide in safely. Adam Everett followed with a sacrifice bunt and Curtis Granderson brought him home a fly ball to centre.
That sharp execution came in contrast to the Blue Jays an inning earlier, who wasted a leadoff double by Vernon Wells. Lind moved him to third with a groundout to first but groundouts by Rolen and Lyle Overbay left Wells stranded.
The Blue Jays didn't have another batter reach base until Barajas opened the sixth with a walk, breaking a run of 12 batters downed by Jackson.