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Sloppy Tigers hope for improved defense vs. Jays

Sportsnaut
Jul 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Alejandro Kirk (30) slides into second base safe ahead of the tag from Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) during the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Detroit Tigers will attempt to clean up their defense on Friday in the second game of their four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Detroit made two errors and allowed two unearned runs on Thursday while losing the series opener 5-3.

The Tigers have allowed eight unearned runs in their past three games. They won two of three from the San Diego Padres earlier this week despite their shoddy fielding.

On Thursday, throwing errors by third baseman Jeimer Candelario and shortstop Javier Baez led to unearned runs.

“We’ve got to play clean,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re not going to win games if we don’t play clean. I said that to the players before the game. Especially when you play playoff-caliber teams — like we have with San Diego and Toronto and then Minnesota and Tampa.”

Matt Chapman had two home runs and three RBIs for Toronto on Thursday, while Willi Castro and Jonathan Schoop had solo homers for Detroit.

The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth but scored only once, on Eric Haase’s sacrifice fly.

“You would’ve liked to get a little more there, obviously,” Hinch said. “Haase had a great at-bat. Just inches away from making it really interesting. But I look back and I see two errors that led to part of their scoring, and we said before the series that if you give them extra outs, they’re a dangerous offense.”

Blue Jays center fielder George Springer left the game after his at-bat in the bottom of the eighth. He grimaced after a swing. Springer has been playing with what has been described as inflammation in the elbow area.

“He’s feeling good,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said. “He kind of had a high-impact game. Just a little bit of elbow discomfort. It probably looked worse than it is right now. We’ll check him out (on Friday) and see how he is.”

Springer looked uncomfortable after making two long throws from the outfield on Thursday. He did not play in the All-Star Game so he could rest the elbow.

“I’m going to have to fight through stuff all year,” Springer said before the All-Star break after missing a game. “It kind of is what it is. Still trying to fight through some stuff. But I’ll be all right. Between the break and now, we’re just trying to buy an extra day to make sure that it’s right, and when it is, I’ll go back out.”

Toronto will start right-hander Alek Manoah (11-4, 2.24 ERA) on Friday. He made his lone career start against Detroit on Aug. 28, 2021, when he got a no-decision after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight.

Detroit is expected to start right-hander Bryan Garcia in his season debut. Garcia, who never faced the Blue Jays in his three previous seasons with the Tigers, had his contract selected from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.

Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in the first inning on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He is batting .436 (17-for-39) during that span with five doubles, a homer, and six RBIs.

Detroit put left-hander Andrew Chafin on the restricted list on Thursday because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and could not enter Canada. Garcia was called up as a replacement.

Toronto left-hander Yusei Kikuchi allowed one run and two hits in five innings on Thursday to earn the win. He was reinstated from a three-week stay on the injured list prior to the game, having recovered from a neck strain. The Blue Jays cleared a roster spot by optioning right-hander Jeremy Beasley to Triple-A Buffalo.

–Field Level Media