Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera both hit home runs to right field as the Detroit Tigers buried the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-3 on a chilly Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Avila, in his first game after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, drilled a looping fly ball over the right-field wall in the second to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. Prince Fielder opened the scoring in the first, with an RBI double off Brandon Morrow.
After the Blue Jays chopped that deficit in half on a Jose Reyes RBI single, Cabrera drilled a line-shot three-run homer just over the wall in right to put Detroit up 5-1 after four. Cabrera added another RBI in the eighth, as part of a four-hit day; Matt Tuiasosopo also plated a run, his RBI coming on a pinch-hit double to left.
Anibal Sanchez picked up the win for Detroit, his first of the year. He threw seven innings on the day, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out eight. Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit closed out the game, though Benoit allowed a long ninth-inning homer to Colby Rasmus.
Don Kelly turned in the defensive play of the game, leaping over the fence in left to pull back a potential homer off the bat of J.P. Arencibia.
Tigers’ MVP: Cabrera.
He had to wait until Game 7 for his first homer of the year, but with his 4-for-5 outing, Cabrera’s up to. .393 on the young season and already has 10 RBIs. Give some credit to Jackson and Torii Hunter, too, especially for that third inning — that duo’s two-out hitting set the stage for Cabrera’s three-run homer.
Tigers’ Goat: Jhonny Peralta.
An 0-for-5 day would have been bad enough, but Peralta grounded out with the bases loaded in the third, popped out with the bases juiced and nobody out in the seventh and K’d with two in scoring position in the eighth.
Detroit’s Standing: The Tigers pulled over .500 again at 4-3 and within a half-game of the idle Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
What’s Next: Rick Porcello makes his second start of the year on Wednesday afternoon — or, at least, he’s scheduled to. Rain could cause some problems for the remainder of this three-game set between the Tigers and Jays. Toronto will counter with lefty Mark Buerhle, who has returned to the AL Central after a stint in Miami.