The Detroit Tigers admit they are in a funk at the plate.
It's hard to say how they'll fare against a pitcher they haven't seen in six years.
The scuffling Tigers try to avoid a fourth straight loss Tuesday night when they go up against the Toronto Blue Jays' Chien-Ming Wang, who tries to bounce back from a disappointing outing.
The Blue Jays (41-41) won their seventh straight home game by beating Detroit 8-3 in Monday's opener of a four-game set. The Tigers fell for the sixth time in seven contests to drop one-half game behind Cleveland in the AL Central.
Detroit (43-38) leads the majors with a .279 average and averages 4.9 runs, but is batting .242 and averaging 3.7 runs over its last seven games."We're in a little funk right now and we've just got to get ourselves out of it," Jim Leyland said. "You've got to roll with that punch and you've got to try and do something about it."
They'll try to turn things around against Wang (1-1, 5.24 ERA), who surrendered a season-high seven runs over 1 2-3 innings Thursday in a 7-4 defeat at Boston. The right-hander was 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his previous two starts, and said afterward that his sinkerball was flat.
"He's pitched great for us," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "That's baseball. That happens. That can happen to anybody. He'll bounce back."
Wang is 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA in seven starts against the Tigers, including one in the postseason, but all those outings came with the New York Yankees between 2005-07. The only Detroit hitter he has faced since after 2009 is Omar Infante (2 for 10 lifetime against him).
Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 4 on Monday as his 15-game hitting streak in which he batted .458 with seven homers and 13 RBIs ended. Infante was a bright spot, going 4 for 4.
Toronto played Monday without slugger Edwin Encarnacion , who was scratched from the lineup with hamstring soreness.
"It made sense to give him the day, we don't want that to turn into anything major," Gibbons said. "Hopefully it's not a long-term thing, we don't think it will be."
Adam Lind also sat out with a back injury that forced him out of Sunday's game at Boston.
Toronto is enjoying its longest run at home since winning eight straight July 21-Aug. 5, 2007.
Tigers starter Doug Fister (6-5, 3.50) owns a higher ERA in July at 4.17 than in any other month.
The right-hander, who gave up one run over seven innings in a 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, improved to 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA in five starts against the Blue Jays on April 11 by allowing one run over eight innings in an 11-1 rout.
Toronto is second in the majors with 107 homers, but Fister has not allowed any of its hitters to go deep.
|June 20, 2013||Matt Tuiasosopo||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 20, 2013||Matt Tuiasosopo||Day-to-Day||Rib cage strain|
|June 17, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Left forearm contusion|
|June 17, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Left forearm contusion|
|June 16, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 08, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder stiffness|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 28, 2013||Melky Cabrera||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 27, 2013||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
TORONTO (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera brushed aside a sore back to help lift the Tigers out of their recent funk.
Torii Hunter drove in the tiebreaking run with a two-out infield single in the eighth inning and Detroit rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Tuesday.
Hunter had four singles and Cabrera hit a three-run home run, his 26th, as the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak, rallying after giving up four runs in the bottom of the first.
"Especially when they score a lot of runs in the first inning, to be able to get back and win this game was big for us," Cabrera said.
Colby Rasmus homered and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays, who failed to extend their seven-game home winning streak.
Omar Infante singled off Neil Wagner (1-3) to begin the eighth, moving to second on Alex Avila 's sacrifice bunt and taking third on Austin Jackson 's deep fly ball. Hunter followed with a comebacker that bounced off Wagner and rolled to shortstop Jose Reyes , whose throw to first was too late to get Hunter.
Al Alburquerque (1-1) worked one inning for the win, just the second for Detroit in its past eight games.
"Just a good win for us, we needed it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Hopefully we can get things going again."
Drew Smyly pitched the eighth and Joaquin Benoit finished in the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances.
Cabrera, who came in with a major league-leading .369 average, went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and two walks, one intentional. With 26 homers, he's second in the majors behind Baltimore's Chris Davis .
Cabrera said his lower back first felt stiff during batting practice, then got worse after he made a diving play in the first inning. He tweaked it again while batting in the top of the ninth, and was replaced by Ramon Santiago in the bottom of the inning.
"Hopefully it's not a big deal and I can come in tomorrow, do treatment and be ready to play," Cabrera said.
Leyland wasn't ready to declare Cabrera ready to go.
"He said no rest tomorrow, he'll be ready," Leyland said. "We'll play that one by ear."
The Blue Jays jumped on Tigers starter Doug Fister with a four-run, bat-around first. Jose Bautista hit an RBI single, Rasmus followed with a two-run double and Josh Thole drove in a run with an infield hit.
The Tigers responded with a six-run second, sending 11 men to the plate. Infante doubled home a run, Avila had a two-run double and Cabrera homered.
"Miggy hit a big one," Leyland said. "The three-run homer was huge for us."
Avila had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list. "It was good to be able to come back and claw our way back into that one," he said.
For the second straight start, Toronto's Chien-Ming Wang failed to make it out of the second. Wang allowed base hits to the first four batters and was replaced after Victor Martinez singled for the seventh hit of the inning.
Toronto designated Wang for assignment after the game and will recall right-hander Todd Redmond from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place.
"We enjoyed having him around," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Wang. "We hope he chooses to stay and pitch for us down there in Triple-A and have a shot to come back."
Wang said he was "very disappointed" by the move, adding that he'll decide within the next couple of days whether to join Buffalo.
Making his fifth start for the Blue Jays, Wang allowed six runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings, walked one and struck out one. He gave up seven runs and six hits over 1 2-3 in a loss at Boston last week.
Detroit's lead was short-lived. Bautista drew a two-out walk in the bottom half and Rasmus followed with a game-tying homer to center, his 15th.
Fister settled down after that, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters and allowing just a leadoff single to Bautista in the fifth.
"He ended up doing a heck of a job," Leyland said. "He could have caved in a little bit but he didn't. That was huge for us."
Fister matched a season high by allowing six runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander, who has won just once in his past nine starts, walked one and struck out four.
"That first inning we had a couple of mix-ups with signs right off the bat," Avila said. "After that we got into a nice rhythm and he did a good job."
Gibbons was ejected in the ninth for arguing with plate umpire Alan Porter, his fourth ejection of the season.
NOTES: Toronto fell to 9-16 in one-run games. ... Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez is expected to come off the disabled list Saturday to start at Cleveland. Sanchez has been out since June 16 with a sore right shoulder. ... Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion (left hamstring) and Adam Lind (back) were held out of the lineup for the second straight game. Munenori Kawasaki started at DH. ... Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie (left ankle) was supposed to play a rehab game with Class A Dunedin on Tuesday, but it was rained out. Instead, Lawrie will play for Class A Lansing on Thursday. ... Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow (forearm) is pain-free and throwing on flat ground, GM Alex Anthopoulos said. Morrow has been out since June 1 and is not expected back until late July or early August.