TORONTO (AP) - Stuck in a slump, this was not quite the pitcher the slumping Detroit hitters hoped to face: A resurgent R.A. Dickey and his speeding knuckleball.
Dickey won again, Jose Reyes and Mark DeRosa homered and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Detroit 8-3 on Monday for their seventh straight home win.
The Tigers, meanwhile, lost for the sixth time in seven games. Despite a lineup loaded with sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, Detroit has averaged just three runs per game in its past six contests.
``We're in a little funk right now and we've just got to get ourselves out of it,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``You'll got to roll with that punch and you've got to try and do something about it.'
Detroit came in with a major league-high .280 team batting average, but didn't manage much against Dickey (8-8). He allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking one to win for the third time in four starts.
``Just another great outing,' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ``Second one in a row. I see more bite on his knuckleball than we've seen in the past a little bit.'
Fielder hit a solo homer, his 14th, but said it was tough to track Dickey's dancing pitches.
``It was knuckling,' Fielder said. ``It's hard for catchers to catch it, so imagine how hard it is to hit it.'
Omar Infante hit a solo homer off Aaron Loup in the ninth and went 4 for 4 with three hits against Dickey. Bumped up to seventh in the order, Infante improved to 16 for 31 career against Dickey.
``Omar had very good numbers against Dickey and that's why I moved him up today,' Leyland said. ``I guess that's one of the few things we did right today.'
Cabrera, who came in with an AL-leading .373 batting average, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Leyland said bad luck may be to blame for some of Detroit's recent struggles.
``We're a little bit snake-bitten right now as well as not swinging as good as we can,' Leyland said. ``The combination of those things is normally not a good one. When we hit one hard right now they're catching it, and we're not hitting a whole bunch of them hard.'
Even so, he remains convinced his batters will break out of it soon.
``We've got too many good hitters not to hit,' Leyland said. ``A normal person sees our lineup and is amazed maybe. But when you're in the game and in the business for a long time, you know that those things happen.'
The Blue Jays delighted a sellout crowd of 45,766 on Canada Day with their 11th victory in 13 games at Rogers Centre.
Reyes hit a leadoff shot in the third against rookie Jose Alvarez (1-2). For Reyes, it was his third homer of the year and second in two days.
DeRosa added a three-run drive in the fourth off reliever Luke Putkonen.
Toronto reliever Steve Delabar struck out the side in the eighth and Loup finished in the ninth.
The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the second when Munenori Kawasaki hit an RBI single. Catcher Josh Thole tried to score from second on the hit, running through third base coach Luis Rivera's stop sign, but was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Andy Dirks.
Toronto chased Alvarez with a four-run third. After Reyes homered, Rajai Davis doubled and stole third on a throw back to the pitcher.
Walks to Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus loaded the bases for J.P. Arencibia, who hit a two-run single. Bautista slid home safely after Dirks' throw hit his helmet and bounced away, sending Rasmus to third. Maicer Izturis followed with a sacrifice fly.
``Today was a rough day,' catcher Brayan Pena said. ``In that inning, nothing worked for us and they took advantage of our mistakes.'
Fielder homered in the fourth and Infante added an RBI double.
Alvarez lost his second straight start, giving up four earned runs in a career-low three innings. He walked three and struck out four.
``He just didn't have real good control and he left the ball up,' Leyland said. ``Of course, you pay for that against good big league hitters.'
NOTES: Following the game, Detroit optioned C Bryan Holaday to Triple-A. C Alex Avila, out since June 17 with a sore left forearm, will be activated off the DL Tuesday. ... Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from the lineup with hamstring soreness and replaced by Arencibia. ... Canadian IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani threw out the first pitch.
The Associated Press News Service
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