DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Tigers played well enough at the start of the season that they can withstand a slump like this.
But the longer it goes on, the more perplexing it becomes.
Adam Lind doubled twice to drive in three runs and Melky Cabrera added a homer and three hits, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays to an 8-2 victory over Detroit on Wednesday night. The AL Central-leading Tigers left 11 runners on base in their fourth straight loss. Detroit has dropped 12 of 16 since a 27-12 start.
'I still think of it as a funk,' manager Brad Ausmus said. 'I still think this team is way better than we're playing in the last few weeks.'
Lind's two-run double off Rick Porcello (8-3) in the sixth put Toronto ahead 3-2, and Aaron Loup got out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the bottom of the inning in relief of R.A. Dickey (6-4).
The AL East-leading Blue Jays added three runs in the eighth and two in the ninth in winning for the 18th time in 22 games.
Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit, but Kinsler also left the bases loaded twice.
'Baseball is like life. In life, you have storms, troubles in your life,' Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. 'Only way you can get over them is keep moving, keep working, keep doing what you have to do. Through every storm there's always a rainbow that means that it's finished.'
Jose Bautista also had three hits for Toronto, including a two-run double in the ninth.
Melky Cabrera opened the scoring in the first with a solo shot, but Miguel Cabrera answered in the bottom half with his 11th homer of the year. Kinsler's home run in the third put the Tigers ahead 2-1.
Porcello seemed to be cruising along, but he allowed a two-out double to Melky Cabrera in the sixth, followed by a walk to Bautista. Lind then hit a drive over Austin Jackson's head in Comerica Park's cavernous center field, scoring both runners to put the Blue Jays ahead.
'Nobody feels bad for any of the problems we're having,' Porcello said. 'We've had a target on our backs and they've been coming to get us. We've got to solve the problems.'
Dickey almost gave the lead right back, allowing a single in between two walks. But with the bases loaded, Loup came on and struck out pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez before getting Rajai Davis and Kinsler on foul popups.
'You're almost thinking, you're bound to give up at least one, possibly two,' Loup said. 'But you try to limit the damage as much as possible. Tonight was I guess one of those lucky nights, you kind of pull a rabbit out of your hat.'
Dickey allowed two runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, walking four and striking out four. Loup pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Porcello allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.
Toronto padded its lead in the eighth. Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single and Lind added a run-scoring double in that inning. By the time the game ended, it seemed there were as many Blue Jays fans left at the ballpark as Tigers fans.
Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez made his major league debut after being called up from the minors before the game. He entered as a substitute in the seventh, and his first plate appearance was eventful.
With men on first and second in the eighth, he hit a grounder to third. Brett Lawrie fielded it and stepped on third for a force, but his throw to first hit Suarez around the upper back for an error, leaving runners at second and third.
The Tigers left them on base too.
NOTES: Detroit also loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but didn't score when Kinsler flied out to right. ... Bautista made a diving, backhanded catch to retire Hunter in the third on his flyball to right. ... Detroit's Justin Verlander (6-4) takes the mound Thursday against Toronto's J.A. Happ (4-2) as the Tigers try to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Associated Press News Service
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