DETROIT – Nicholas Castellanos gave the Detroit Tigers a chance to enjoy the type of celebration that’s been awfully rare of late at Comerica Park.
Castellanos led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run, and Detroit snapped its six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. The Tigers won for only the eighth time in their last 41 games. It was just their 13th victory at home on the season, the fewest in the majors.
“I love these guys. This team, we’ve been through a lot,” Castellanos said. “The personalities in this team want to do good so bad, and they know that this is their opportunity, so the fact that everybody’s jumping around me, dumping stuff on me and we’re all smiling after a big win like that … that’s a good moment.”
The victory didn’t come easily. Closer Shane Greene allowed a tying, two-run homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the ninth, but Castellanos connected on the first pitch thrown by Tim Mayza (0-1) for his 11th homer of the season. It could be his last big moment for Detroit. Castellanos is a candidate to be dealt as the trade deadline approaches.
Castellanos said he isn’t preoccupied with trade speculation.
“I’m at the point where I really don’t care what happens,” Castellanos said. “Why care? I can’t control it. Why care if one day my hair is going to turn gray if I can’t control it? I don’t know if that analogy makes any sense, but it popped into my head.”
Nick Ramirez (5-3) pitched a scoreless top of the 10th for Detroit.
JaCoby Jones also homered for the Tigers, and Tyler Alexander pitched seven impressive innings. Alexander held Toronto to a run and three hits, but his first career win slipped away in the ninth. Greene, who entered with a 1.03 ERA, allowed a drive to left-centre by Gurriel that tied the game at 3.
“He has been so good lately,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Every time we need a big hit, he seems to come up with one.”
Toronto scored in the first on an RBI double by Gurriel, but Detroit tied it in the second when a run came home on Bobby Wilson’s double-play grounder. The Blue Jays tried to turn a 5-4-3 triple play when Wilson hit a grounder to third with the bases loaded, but the throw to first was late.
Jeimer Candelario put Detroit up 2-1 with an RBI groundout in the third, and Jones hit his 10th homer of the year in the fifth.
The Tigers recalled the 25-year-old Alexander from Triple-A Toledo before the game. He did not allow a baserunner after the third inning and faced just three batters over the minimum through seven.
Alexander and Toronto’s Jacob Waguespack were both making their second major league starts. Waguespack allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven with no walks.
“I thought today was a tremendous improvement from my first start,” Waguespack said. “I was really fighting my command that time, and it was a lot better today.”
Alexander had good numbers, although there were some deep flyballs — including one that Jones caught in centre while slamming into the wall.
“If the fences were 10 feet in, I think we’d be having a different conversation,” Alexander said.
Castellanos has little sympathy for opposing players who have to deal with Comerica’s dimensions in centre.
“This park’s a joke. It’s to the point where, how are we going to be compared to the rest of the people in the league for power numbers … and we got a yard out here that’s 420 feet straight across in centre field?” Castellanos said. “We get on second base or third base, and they’re looking, like, ‘Man, how do you guys do this?’ We play 81 games here. I don’t want to hear about your two that you hit that are questionable.”
Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (left elbow inflammation) is set to make his season debut as Monday’s starter. He made four rehab starts at three different levels, allowing six earned runs in 18 innings.
Blue Jays: Borucki takes the mound when Toronto hosts Cleveland on Monday night. Mike Clevinger (3-2) starts for the Indians.
Tigers: Detroit has Monday off before two home games against Philadelphia. Matthew Boyd (6-8) takes the mound for the Tigers on Tuesday night against Aaron Nola (8-2).
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