Brian Tallet has bounced back and forth between Toronto’s rotation and bullpen all season.
So far, a bit of stability seems to be doing him good.
Tallet, who is expected to start for the rest of the season, responded with one of his best outings of the year in a 6-4 victory over Detroit Friday night.
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“It helps with my focus, because I know I’ll be getting the ball every five days or so,” he said. “I’m just trying to soak up as many innings as I can.”
Tallet (7-9) is now 2-0 as a starter in September. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, and matched a career high with seven strikeouts.
“When I strike guys out, it is usually an accident,” he said. “I’m mainly pitching to contact, but tonight I was getting ahead of guys and putting them away. I don’t usually do that.”
The AL Central-leading Tigers have lost four straight to Kansas City and Toronto after a six-game winning streak.
“Maybe we’re looking at the scoreboard, but we should be looking at something else,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “I think guys are a little too casual around here. They need to step it up. We need to play better, pitch better, hit better and shut some people down.”
One Tiger, though, thought the opposition pitching had more to do with the losses than any loss of focus.
“It’s hard not to look at the scoreboard, because they are everywhere,” said Curtis Granderson. “You have to look at how we’ve lost these four games. Kansas City pitched well, and that’s why they won, and tonight the Jays pitched well.”
The Blue Jays won for just the third time in their last 13 road games.
“This is great for our team, because we get a chance to play spoiler,” Tallet said. “That’s a bonus for us.”
Three relievers finished, with Jason Frasor pitching the ninth for his ninth save.
“Jason’s been great for us,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “I don’t know if the success comes first or the confidence, but he’s got both of them right now and they build off each other.”
Nate Robertson (1-2) took the loss, allowing two runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked five.
Toronto loaded the bases with two out in the first, but Rod Barajas flew out to the warning track in left to end the inning, and the Blue Jays stranded two more runners in each of the next two innings.
“We let them get away a couple times at the beginning of the game,” Gaston said. “Two of the balls we hit would probably have been out of most parks, especially the one Rod hit, but we got a couple out later.”
The Tigers took advantage in the third, taking a 1-0 lead when Gerald Laird doubled and scored on Ryan Raburn‘s sacrifice fly.
Toronto broke through in the fourth, chasing Robertson with a pair of runs. With two out, Adam Lind‘s single brought home Randy Ruiz, and Vernon Wells followed with an RBI double.
Wells made it 3-1 with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly off Armando Galarraga, and Tallet got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning. Barajas homered in the seventh, and after a Edwin Encarnacion single, Ruiz’s two-run homer off Ryan Perry gave the Blue Jays a 6-1 lead.
Detroit rallied for three runs on five hits and a sacrifice fly in the seventh, but Jeremy Accardo struck out Brandon Inge to end the inning with runners on the corners. The Tigers also stranded two runners in the eighth.
Granderson hit seventh for the Tigers – the first time in his career that he had batted in that spot, and the lowest he has hit since batting eighth on June 22, 2008. … Robertson left the game with a strained groin and will undergo further tests on Saturday. … A small child ran on the field between the seventh and eighth innings and picked up the ball sitting behind the mound before returning to the stands. … Lind left the game with a shin contusion, and is listed as day-to-day.