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Published: Saturday, 8/28/2010

Morrow handles Tigers: Jays ace wins eighth at home

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Detroit's Will Rhymes, center, is caught between Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, left, and Yunel Escobar in the first inning. Detroit's Will Rhymes, center, is caught between Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, left, and Yunel Escobar in the first inning.
CHRIS YOUNG / AP Enlarge

TORONTO — Brandon Morrow is all but unhittable at home.

Jose Bautista had a two-run triple, Morrow earned his 10th win and the Toronto Blue Jays held off the Detroit Tigers 5-4 Saturday despite a shaky ninth inning.

Morrow won his fifth straight decision, a career best, and improved to 8-1 with a 2.74 ERA in 13 home starts. He hasn't lost in Toronto since April 14, his first home start of the season.

“You just feel comfortable out there,” Morrow said. “I didn't feel real comfortable in Minnesota, say. I don't know why, it's just the way everything looks.”

Morrow (10-6) allowed one run and four hits in six innings to win for the first time since coming within one out of a no-hitter in a 17-strikeout performance Aug. 8 against Tampa Bay.

“He has almost like a rising, riding fastball,” Detroit's Brandon Inge said. “The way he turns, he hides it well, so it looks a lot harder than it is. Then he's got a slider that looks exactly like his fastball, so it's good deception. It makes him very tough. I've faced No. 1 starters on certain teams that weren't as good as him.”

Morrow walked one and struck out nine. The right-hander has fanned 40 batters in his past four starts.

“He just gets better all the time,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

One day after blowing a late lead, Kevin Gregg struck out Ramon Santiago with a runner on second for his 30th save in 35 chances.

The major league leader in home runs with 42, Bautista went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple and a walk. He has 99 RBIs this season.

Travis Snider was 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI to help Toronto overcome Miguel Cabrera's 33rd homer.

Jason Frasor and Brian Tallet each pitched a scoreless inning before Detroit rallied in the ninth.

Scott Downs hit pinch-hitter Austin Jackson in the leg with a pitch and Ryan Raburn followed with a double before Inge struck out. Pinch-hitter Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases and Alex Avila hit an RBI groundout, chasing Downs.

Gregg came on and gave up a two-run double to Casper Wells, then struck out Santiago. The closer squandered a one-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night before the Blue Jays won in the 11th.

Toronto won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 15-16.

The Tigers had a chance to get to Morrow in the first but ran themselves out of the inning with some sloppy baserunning. Will Rhymes led off with a double but was caught in a rundown on Santiago's ineffective bunt. Santiago tried to advance to second, but was thrown out, leaving manager Jim Leyland fuming about his team's poor execution.

“That didn't look like much of a play for eight innings, but in the ninth, that's a big play,” Leyland said.

The Blue Jays scored three times in the bottom half to jump on Alfredo Figaro (0-2), making his first start of the season in place of injured right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, scratched Friday with soreness in his right side.

Leadoff hitter Fred Lewis drew a four-pitch walk and stole second. Yunel Escobar singled and Bautista drove in both runners with a triple to center. Vernon Wells followed with an RBI grounder.

Cabrera hit a leadoff shot into the second deck in left in the second inning, his second homer in two days. Detroit has homered in 10 straight road games, hitting 20 homers during that span.

Adam Lind hit an RBI double in the third, but a missed call by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi cost Toronto a run in the fourth. Snider was called out at home on Lewis' chopper to third, even though replays showed Snider's foot beat the tag by Avila.

“That's why you might need video, because that's an important run right there,” Gaston said.

Inge reached on a throwing error to begin the fifth and went to third on Avila's single but was thrown out at home when Rhymes bounced back to the mound.

Aaron Hill chased Figaro with a leadoff double in the sixth and Snider followed with an RBI double off left-hander Brad Thomas.

Figaro allowed five runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.

“He's got to get the ball down better,” Leyland said. “Everything they hit was up.”

Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion left in the eighth with a sprained left wrist and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Blue Jays recalled infielder Mike McCoy from Triple-A Las Vegas.



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