Published July 29, 2012
TORONTO – Home runs are hurting Brett Cecil, and a lack of run support is making matters even worse.
Jhonny Peralta hit two homers, Doug Fister pitched eight innings and the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Cecil has given up no more than three runs in each of his past three starts but has lost all of them. The Blue Jays have scored just two runs behind him in that span.
The left-hander has allowed a homer in each of his past four starts and has surrendered nine long balls in eight starts this season.
"I'm not going to change anything," Cecil said. "Just keep doing what I'm doing. Wins will come."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he can live with home runs, as long as they don't always come with runners on.
"The old adage is solo home runs aren't going to beat you. It's what happens prior," Farrell said. "The walk contributed. I thought he threw a number of good pitches that were borderline and he didn't get a call on. But still, six plus innings, I thought he did a good job here today."
Cecil (2-4) gave up three runs and four hits in a season-best 6 2-3 innings. He walked a season-high four and struck out seven.
A three-run homer by Andruw Jones made Cecil a loser in a 6-1 defeat at the New York Yankees on July 17, while Derek Norris touched him for a two-run shot in Oakland's 7-2 win at Toronto on July 24.
"I don't care how they get the runs," Cecil said. "It doesn't matter, as long as I keep my team in it."
Peralta entered in an 0-for-17 slump and hadn't gotten a hit since going 2 for 3 in a 7-1 win over Chicago in July 21. He hit a three-run drive off Cecil in the second and added a solo shot against Joel Carreno in the ninth. It was Peralta's first multihomer game this season and the seventh of his career.
"Jhonny had a huge day," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
The Tigers had lost four of five and fallen out of the AL Central lead, but halted a three-game skid thanks to strong pitching by Fister (5-7). The right-hander won for the fourth time in five starts, allowing one run and seven hits — all singles. He struck out nine and matched his longest outing of the season.
"An excellent pitching performance," Leyland said. "Doug did an great job of keeping them off balance all day long and mixed his pitches extremely well."
Jose Valverde closed for his 20th save in 24 chances as Detroit avoided being swept in Toronto for the first time since Sept. 5-7, 2003.
"We had the right tonic for a nice winning formula today: a three-run homer and excellent pitching," Leyland said.
Toronto's only run came in the first when Rajai Davis singled, stole second, took third on catcher Gerald Laird's throwing error and came home on Colby Rasmus' groundout.
Detroit answered in the second when Delmon Young walked, Ryan Raburn doubled and Peralta followed with his seventh homer.
Toronto put runners at first and second with two outs in the third, fourth and fifth innings but failed to score each time. Brett Lawrie fouled out ending the third, Jeff Mathis grounded out closing the fourth and Edwin Encarnacion grounded out in the fifth.
"He's pretty good at staying calm when he gets in a tight situation," Leyland said. "That's a trait of a real good pitcher."
NOTES: Toronto's Adam Lind (back) missed his third straight game. A decision on whether to place Lind on the DL will come after he tries to hit before Monday's game at Seattle. ... The Tigers improved to 14-4 on Sundays this season. ... Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista (left wrist) took swings for the second straight day. ... Toronto lost for the third time this season when holding its opponent to five hits or fewer.