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MLB Tigers try to take rally mentality into series vs. Blue Jays

The Detroit Tigers hope to carry the momentum from a comeback win over the San Diego Padres into the opener of a four-game series Thursday night against the host Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tigers rallied from a one-run deficit in the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon to defeat the visiting Padres 4-3 on a walk-off, two-run double by Victor Reyes.

Detroit took two of three from San Diego, winning 12-4 on Monday night and falling 6-4 in 10 innings on Tuesday.

“The finish at the end, I think that, again, this is a little more characteristic of … last year’s team and what we expect our guys to play, the 27 outs,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said after the Wednesday game. “Victor really fought hard. He had a couple of good pitches to hit, and then when the ball was off the bat, we kinda all hold our breath, and then it hits the wall, and watching (Jonathan) Schoop run is good.”

The Tigers will start left-hander Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.05 ERA) on Thursday. The Blue Jays will start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-5, 5.12).

Alexander is 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three career outings (two stars) against Toronto.

In three career meetings (all starts) against the Tigers, Kikuchi has gone 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA. He went on the injured list on July 6 with a neck strain, but recently threw five scoreless innings of two-hit ball in a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Buffalo.

Toronto had its seven-game winning streak end Wednesday night with a 6-1 loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The Blue Jays are 8-2 under interim manager John Schneider. They had been putting up impressive numbers at the plate, but they were foiled by Adam Wainwright, who allowed one run in seven innings.

Schneider has been encouraging the Blue Jays to be more aggressive.

“It’s an obvious message that was given to them,” Schneider said. “We talk about it a lot. We talked about it (Tuesday) in our advance (meeting), about what we did in Boston. You have to be smart, but you have to be aggressive.”

Before splitting two games with the Cardinals, the Blue Jays swept three games from an injury-depleted Red Sox team that made frequent mistakes in the field. Toronto outscored Boston 40-10 in the series.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 2-for-4 with a double on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He is batting .457 (16-for-35) with one homer and six RBIs during the streak.

Left-hander Andrew Chafin was the only Tigers player placed on the restricted list ahead of the series in Toronto because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and cannot enter Canada.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Chafin said, “but it’s one of those situations that kind of is what it is. … For me, family life and personal life come before anything, and we decided as a family it was best to go this route, and we’re willing to deal with the consequences.”

Right-hander Bryan Garcia will get his first callup from the Tigers this season after he made 72 relief appearances for Detroit over the previous three seasons. He was converted to a starting pitcher this month at Triple-A Toledo and likely will start for Detroit on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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