Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pricey Jays find way to win

Bats help erase early 6-1 deficit to tame Tigers

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DETROIT -- J.P. Arencibia and Mark DeRosa gave the struggling Toronto Blue Jays a chance to feel good.

Arencibia hit a three-run double in the seventh inning and the Blue Jays rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Detroit Tigers 8-6 on Wednesday.

Toronto had opened a season of high expectations with five losses in seven games.

"No reason to panic, but when you see it slipping away in the fifth or sixth inning, it was nice for the bats to come alive," said DeRosa, whose pinch-hit double in the sixth got the comeback started in earnest. "We obviously didn't get off to the start we wanted to, but we fought."

Detroit led 6-1 in the sixth, but starter Rick Porcello allowed hits to the first three batters that inning. They all eventually scored, and Toronto added four more runs the following inning.

Brayan Villarreal (0-1) came on with one on and one out in the seventh and walked three straight hitters, forcing in a run. Arencibia followed with a drive to the gap in left-centre off Octavio Dotel to make it 8-6.

"It was nice to finally get a few hits and walks and guys grinding out at-bats, and string it all in the same inning," Arencibia said. "To score, you need to be able to do that collectively in an inning."

Aaron Loup (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for the Blue Jays. Casey Janssen, the last of five Toronto relievers, pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

The game started after a rain delay of 2 hours, 29 minutes, and it was also raining when the Tigers made the final out.

The Blue Jays fell behind early. Mark Buehrle, acquired in the same off-season trade that brought Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson to Toronto, allowed six runs -- five earned -- in 4 1-3 innings.

Three of those runs came home after Buehrle left the game in the fifth. Reliever Steve Delabar allowed bases-loaded walks to Victor Martinez and pinch-hitter Andy Dirks, and Jhonny Peralta added an RBI single to make it 6-1.

But Porcello didn't get another out. He allowed four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings and left the lead to what is already a beleaguered Detroit bullpen. The Tigers don't have a set closer. Manager Jim Leyland says he's willing to use anyone to pitch with a lead in the ninth inning -- but he never even got to make that decision Wednesday.

Edwin Encarnacion doubled in a run to chase Porcello, and DeRosa followed with a two-run double off Darin Downs. That set the stage for the seventh inning, when the Blue Jays took the lead.

Toronto, meanwhile, blanked the Tigers over the last four innings. After Loup's scoreless frame, Brett Cecil pitched the seventh and Darren Oliver worked the eighth.

Oliver got a bizarre assist when Austin Jackson's line drive hit him around the left elbow and bounced right to DeRosa at first base for an easy 1-3 putout. The left-hander was able to continue.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2013 D4

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