DETROIT – R.A. Dickey exited the game, leaving a bases-loaded mess in the sixth inning.
Afterward, he could thank reliever Aaron Loup for a remarkable escape.
“It doesn’t get any better,” Dickey said.
Loup pitched out of that bases-loaded, nobody-out jam, helping Toronto hold onto to what at that point was a one-run lead. Then the Blue Jays broke the game open late, beating the Detroit Tigers 8-2 Wednesday night.
Adam Lind doubled twice to drive in three runs and Melky Cabrera added a homer and three hits for Toronto. The AL East-leading Blue Jays scored three runs in the eighth and two in the ninth in winning for the 18th time in 22 games.
“We’re picking each other up,” said outfielder Jose Bautista, who also had three hits for the Blue Jays.
“The day that one guy doesn’t come through, then somebody else does. It’s what winning teams do, and we’re enjoying it. Winning baseball is much more fun.”
Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit, but Kinsler also left the bases loaded twice. The AL Central-leading Tigers left 11 runners on base in their fourth straight loss. Detroit has dropped 12 of 16.
“I still think of it as a funk,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “I still think this team is way better than we’re playing in the last few weeks.”
Detroit’s Rick Porcello (8-3) seemed to be cruising, but he allowed a two-out double to Melky Cabrera in the sixth, followed by a walk to Bautista. Lind then hit a drive over Austin Jackson’s head in Comerica Park’s cavernous centre field, scoring both runners to put the Blue Jays ahead 3-2.
Dickey almost gave the lead right back, allowing a single in between two walks. But with the bases loaded, Loup came on and struck out pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez before getting Rajai Davis and Kinsler on foul popups.
“You’re almost thinking, you’re bound to give up at least one, possibly two,” Loup said. “But you try to limit the damage as much as possible. Tonight was, I guess, one of those lucky nights, you kind of pull a rabbit out of your hat.”
Dickey (6-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, walking four and striking out four. Loup pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
“I was trying every trick I had,” Dickey said. “I was kind of on the tightrope all game, having to use everything in my arsenal, and some days it’s like that. Thankfully, I minimized the damage in a couple of the innings, and then Loup did that incredible thing in the sixth, and that was really the turning point in the game.”
Toronto padded its lead in the eighth. Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single and Lind added a run-scoring double in that inning. By the time the game ended, it seemed there were as many Blue Jays fans left at the ballpark as Tigers fans.
Bautista added a two-run double in the ninth.
Melky Cabrera opened the scoring in the first with a solo shot, but Miguel Cabrera answered in the bottom half with his 11th homer of the year. Kinsler’s home run in the third put the Tigers ahead 2-1.
Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez made his major league debut after being called up from the minors before the game. He entered as a substitute in the seventh, and his first plate appearance was eventful.
With men on first and second in the eighth, he hit a grounder to third. Brett Lawrie fielded it and stepped on third for a force, but his throw to first hit Suarez around the upper back for an error, leaving runners at second and third.
The Tigers left them on base too.
NOTES: Detroit also loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but didn’t score when Kinsler flied out to right. … Bautista made a diving, backhanded catch to retire Torii Hunter in the third on his flyball to right. … Detroit’s Justin Verlander (6-4) takes the mound Thursday against Toronto’s J.A. Happ (4-2) as the Tigers try to avoid a three-game sweep.
© The Associated Press, 2014