Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer throws against the Blue Jays in the first inning. He took a no decision in the contest.
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DETROIT — Kyle Drabek didn’t take the time to visit a lifelong friend Monday.
He beat him on the baseball field instead.
Drabek, the son of former major league pitcher Doug Drabek, grew up around the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse while Jim Leyland was managing his dad. On Monday, the younger Drabek allowed one run in seven innings to beat Leyland’s Detroit Tigers 4-2.
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to Jim today — I figured I’d wait until tomorrow for that,” Drabek said. “I’ll be curious to hear what he thought of my game tonight. He’s been in this game for a long time, and I’ve known him all my life.”
Leyland, not surprisingly, was impressed.
“He’s got really outstanding stuff,” he said of Drabek, who he remembers as a toddler. “His control isn’t as good as his dad’s, but he throws a little harder. We had him on the hook in the first inning, but let him get out of it, and he really picked it up from there.”
The win snapped Detroit’s winning streak at seven games and extended Toronto’s to six.
“Things are going really well right now,” catcher J.P. Arencibia said. “Our pitching staff is giving us a chance to win every night, and the hitters are taking advantage.”
Drabek (2-3) walked six, but only gave up three hits while striking out two.
“Obviously, he’s putting people on base with the walks, but he’s not letting them carry over to the next hitter,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “He’s going after people, and he got some big outs.”
Drabek’s biggest problem came in the first inning.
Austin Jackson led off with a single, and Drabek walked Andy Dirks and Brennan Boesch to load the bases with no outs. Drabek fell behind Cabrera, and narrowly avoided a grand slam when Jose Bautista caught Cabrera’s long fly a foot in front of the right-field wall.
“I’ve never pitched here before, so I don’t know how well the ball travels, but when he hit that, there was a part of me that thought it was gone,” Drabek said. “I was glad when I saw Jose stop, because I knew that meant he had a play.”
Jackson scored on the sacrifice fly, but Victor Martinez hit into an inning-ending double play.
Frank Francisco pitched the ninth for his fourth save, but allowed a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer remained at 6-0 after pitching seven innings and allowing a run in a no-decision. Toronto won the game with three runs off Joaquin Benoit (1-3) in the eighth. Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion started the inning with singles, and Aaron Hill made it 2-1 with a double.
Juan Rivera and Arencibia followed with sacrifice flies to give the Blue Jays a three-run lead.
Toronto put runners on the corners with no outs in the sixth, but Scherzer got out of the inning with a popout, a strikeout and a forceout at second.
The Jays, though, tied the game in the seventh. After Cabrera dropped his foul pop, Arencibia singled, took second on Rajai Davis’s base hit, moved to third on John McDonald’s bunt and scored on Yunel Escobar’s sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Bautista has reached base in his last 18 games, and 32 of 33. ... Arencibia was the only batter to reach base in Justin Verlander’s no-hitter against Toronto, walking in the seventh inning. ... Drabek threw 55 balls in seven innings, matching his own April 13 start for the second most in the majors this season. Francisco Liriano had 57 balls in his no-hitter earlier this month. ... Martinez had his 13-game hitting streak snapped. ... After the game, the Blue Jays placed Hill (back) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 8, and purchased the contract of Eric Thames from Triple-A Los Vegas.