DETROIT - Tigers manager Jim Leyland is determined to get the most out of his team down the stretch of a disappointing season.
Edgar Renteria hit a tiebreaking two-run double in Detroit's five-run eighth inning and the Tigers avoided a four-game sweep with a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday.
Detroit is 9 1/2 games back of the AL Central-leading White Sox, and Leyland addressed the team before the game.
"We've got a lot of pride here. I just wanted to make sure we didn't get lulled to sleep," Leyland said. "You can't always have a good performance but you can come and play hard."
Armando Galarraga (11-4) pitched eight sharp innings for Detroit, allowing a run and six hits.
"Keep the game tight is what I wanted and the guys came through," Galarraga said.
The Tigers struggled against Jesse Litsch, who tossed seven shutout innings and handed a 1-0 lead over to the Blue Jays bullpen. Litsch allowed four hits and walked two.
"I was able to hit the zone with all my pitches, but the sinker was most effective for me," he said. "I was able to stick with my game plan."
Jesse Carlson got the first out of the eighth before Jason Frasor walked Placido Polanco. Magglio Ordonez flied out but Polanco advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Miguel Cabrera's tying single.
Detroit loaded the bases on two more walks, one intentional, and Renteria hit a liner into left-center field to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Brandon Inge followed with a two-run single.
Like many of the Tigers this season, Renteria has struggled. He's hitting .264 with six home runs and 42 RBIs.
"That's the Edgar Renteria I've known for a lot of years," Leyland said after the big hit.
Frasor recorded just one out and was charged with five runs.
"I just didn't have the guys ready in the bullpen to do the job," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Lyle Overbay led off the fifth with his ninth homer for Toronto. Galarraga allowed two-out singles to Joe Inglett and Marco Scutaro before Alex Rios hit an inning-ending fielder's choice.
Galarraga also allowed a one-out triple to Rios in the eighth but retired Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs on groundouts to get out of the inning.
"He was just outstanding," Gaston said. "We had opportunities to score, but he kept shutting us down."
Notes: The Tigers optioned RHP Freddy Dolsi to Triple-A Toledo after the game. Gaston said he hopes LHP Scott Downs (sprained ankle) will be able to pitch in a few days, maybe as early as tomorrow. Detroit 3B Carlos Guillen missed his second straight game with lower back stiffness.