Monday, December 22, 2014

Jays sweep away Tigers

DETROIT—John Gibbons was all smiles in the visiting manager’s office after his Toronto Blue Jays wrapped up yet another sweep of one of the American League’s most successful teams.
“We’re feeling good right now,” Gibbons said. “We’re confident, and we’re playing good baseball.

“We’re rolling.”
Juan Francisco and Brett Lawrie hit consecutive home runs in the sixth inning off Justin Verlander as the Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 7-3 victory yesterday afternoon.
The AL East-leading Jays now have won 19-of-23, including sweeps of defending champion Boston, AL West-leading Oakland, and AL Central-leading Detroit.
“It’s a great atmosphere—we’ve got a lot of positivity in here,” noted Lawrie.
“Everyone likes to have fun and everybody’s comfortable with one another.”
J.A. Happ (5-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings for Toronto.
Casey Janssen got the final out for his 10th save in 11 chances. He needed only one pitch to retire Nick Castellanos on a line drive to left with two on.
Melky Cabrera also homered for the Jays.
Verlander (6-5) allowed six runs (five earned) and eight hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out four.
Toronto scored three runs each in the fourth and sixth.
“My fastball was great today but I just missed some off-speed pitches,” noted Verlander.
“If I execute those four or five pitches, this would have been a fantastic game.
“I feel like I’m turning the corner with the mechanical adjustments I’ve made,” he added.
“I know the results don’t reflect that but I felt great out there.”
With the score tied at 3-3, Adam Lind drew a lead-off walk in the sixth. Francisco followed with a homer to right.
Lawrie’s drive to left made it 6-3.
“Against a guy like that, you can’t really be on your heels,” said Lawrie, who did not have an at-bat against Verlander before yesterday.
“You’ve got to be ready to go.”
It was the 10th homer of the season for both Francisco and Lawrie. Toronto has hit a major league-leading 87.
The Jays won despite the absence of slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who missed the game with a back issue.
The Tigers are still in first place, but they no longer should feel too comfortable after dropping 13 of their last 17.

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