Peralta, Fister shine as Tigers down Jays to avoid sweep
Cecil still struggling with the long ball
Home runs continue to be a problem for Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil.
This time it was a three-run shot by Jhonny Peralta in the second inning Sunday as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 4-1 to avoid a three-game sweep.
Peralta also hit a solo homer against reliever Joel Carreno in the ninth to back Doug Fister's eight strong innings.
Cecil (2-4) has allowed nine home runs in his eight starts since returning from the minors and Peralta's sabotaged a decent outing in which he allowed four hits, three walks and three runs while striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings.
"I'm not going to change anything," Cecil said. "I don't care how they get the runs. It doesn't matter as long as I keep my team in it."
The victory snapped Detroit's three-game losing slide, with the last two coming in Toronto, and ended the Blue Jays' three-game winning streak.
"I thought Brett did his job keeping us in the game, particularly after the three-run homer in the second, he settled down," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "I think overall in the series we pitched very well."
The Blue Jays finished the six-game homestand at 3-3 and now travel to Seattle, Oakland and Tampa Bay for 10 games that might go a long way to deciding whether they will remain a contender for a wild card spot in the American League.
Fister (5-7) held the Blue Jays to seven hits, two walks and one run to win for the fourth time in five starts. He also struck out nine, one short of his season high.
"He kept them off balance with his slow stuff and his cutter," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "He really pitched an effective game. He's pretty good at staying calm when he gets in a tight situation. That's a trait of a real good pitcher."
Added Farrell: "Fister was outstanding today, a very good curveball both to righties and lefties, he made some key pitches."
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth to pick up his 20th save of the season for Detroit.
The Blue Jays (51-50) scored a run in the first inning after leadoff hitter Rajai Davis walked. He swiped second, his 28th stolen base of the season, continued to third on catcher Gerald Laird's throwing error and scored on a groundout by Colby Rasmus.
The Tigers (54-48) struck back in the second thanks to Peralta's three-run homer. Delmon Young led off with a walk and took third on a double by Ryan Raburn. That set up Peralta's seventh home run of the season, a drive to left on a 3-2 curveball.
"I was looking for the breaking ball because the first game we played here (Friday) I got to 3-2 a couple of times and they threw me a lot of breaking balls," Peralta said. "Today I was thinking 'OK, if it's 3-2 and they throw a breaking ball to me, something will happen today."
Farrell thought Cecil deserved a better fate.
"The old adage is solo home runs aren't going to beat you, it's what happens prior," Farrell said. "The walk contributed. I thought he threw a number of good pitches that were border-line pitches and didn't get a call an on a few occasions.
"But still three runs over six-plus innings I thought he did a good job."
The Blue Jays had their chances to get back in the game. They had two runners on base with two outs in third, fourth and fifth innings but could not come up with a clutch hit.
"We had a number of two-out opportunities where Fister made some key pitches to shut down any potential threat," Farrell said.
Carreno had retired the Tigers in order in the eighth and had two out in the ninth before surrendering Peralta's eighth homer of the season. It was the first multi-homer game of the season for the shortstop and the seventh of his career.
Toronto catcher Jeff Mathis had an eight-game hit streak end, while third baseman Brett Lawrie saw his end at seven.