Peralta, Scherzer lead Tigers over Blue Jays

The Canadian Press
8/26/2010 11:08:45 PM
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TORONTO -- Jose Bautista didn't have much of an occasion to celebrate his 100th career home run.

The league-leading home run masher blasted a solo shot in the seventh to account for the Toronto Blue Jays only offence in a 7-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

"I'm not going to go too crazy about 100," said the right fielder. "The season's not over yet and we have a lot of work to do. We're supposed to score more than one run any ways but we didn't tonight."

Jhonny Peralta hit a three-run homer and Max Scherzer threw eight strong innings for the Detroit Tigers, who took the opener of a four-game weekend series at Rogers Centre.

Detroit's Gerald Laird also went deep with a two-run shot as the Tigers (64-64) did the majority of their damage against Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero in the fourth inning in front of a meek crowd of 16,088.

"He just had one bad inning," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said of Romero, who gave up four hits and six runs -- three earned -- while walking five and striking out four before getting yanked after 5 2/3 innings.

"I always talk about us winning as a team, we certainly lost as a team tonight. One bad inning for him but also we didn't play good defence and we certainly didn't swing the bats."

Romero (10-8), coming off a case of strep throat, was quarantined from the team for two days early in the week. Still, the left-hander who recently signed a five-year contract extension, wasn't making any excuses.

"I don't want to use the whole I was sick excuse because I felt great," said Romero. "Just one of those things where I missed some spots and they made me pay for it. I didn't pitch like I wanted to and I left some balls over the middle and cost us the game. You get a chance to get on a good roll here and open up the series and you hope that you start strong and I wasn't able to do that.

Scherzer (10-9), however, put on a clinic by scattering six hits, walking one and fanning eight to earn his third-straight victory while posting a 0.86 earned-run average over that span. The red-hot right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in six consecutive outings.

"You can see him on the mound, he has a mound presence that is saying 'Hey, I'm doing pretty good and I feel pretty good about myself,"' said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "You'd be a fool if you can't see that."

Scherzer reached 10 wins for the first time in his career.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well tonight, other than the solo bomb," said Scherzer. "When we're not beating ourselves we can be a pretty good group. That's the key to our success right now."

Tigers second baseman Ramon Santiago led off the fourth with a left-field single just out of Edwin Encarnacion's reach. Johnny Damon, who endeared himself to Detroit fans only days earlier by spurning a waiver claim by his ex-team the Boston Red Sox, then advanced on a walk before Miguel Cabrera's sacrifice fly got Santiago to third with one out.

When Ryan Raburn's smacked the ball to third base, Encarnacion's throw to second was out of Aaron Hill's reach, missing the double play, and Santiago scored the Tigers' first run. With runners on first and third, Peralta cracked the first fastball Romero gave him for a three-run homer into left field and a 4-0 Detroit lead. It was Peralta's 13th homer this season.

The Tigers weren't finished roughing up Romero. After getting Brandon Inge to ground out, Romero then walked Casper Wells to bring on Detroit catcher Laird, who took the lefty deep with a two-run shot over the fence -- his fourth of the season -- to clear the bases again and pad the lead 6-0.

After whiffing Raburn and Peralta in the sixth, Romero walked Inge and Wells prompting Gaston to make a change and bring in right-hander Casey Janssen with two outs left and two runners on. Janssen got Laird to line out and end the Tigers threat.

"I missed some spots," said Romero. "I didn't have control of my stuff ... I was either up or down and I didn't have that consistency I had for the last month. We have get back to work tomorrow. "

Detroit added a run in the seventh when Austin Jackson and Santiago reached on singles, bringing up Damon who also singled to load the bases and put Janssen in a jam with no outs. Cabrera lined one right into Escobar's glove, Raburn struck out, but Janssen walked Peralta on a full count to bring in another Tigers run.

The Blue Jays are now 66-61 and sit fourth in the AL East, 12 games back of the Yankees and Rays who were both idle Thursday night.

The Blue Jays, who are 2-3 this season versus Detroit, still lead the majors with 193 home runs this season, 108 of them coming at Rogers Centre.

NOTES: Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.65) will take on fellow right-hander Shaun Marcum (11-7, 3.70) in Friday's game. ... Vernon Wells is four hits shy of 1,500 for his career. His 1,496 hits rank second on the all-time club list (Tony Fernandez leads with 1,583). ... John Buck leads all AL catchers with 14 home runs. ... The Jays and Tigers play each other a total of eight times this season, with four at Rogers Centre and four at Comerica Park. ... Coming into Thursday, the Tigers have belted multiple home runs in each of the last seven games on the road, totalling 17 during that stretch. It's the longest streak of multiple home runs on the road in Tigers franchise history.

Jhonny Peralta (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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