Justin Smoak hits two home runs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat Detroit Tigers 3-0
Justin Smoak had two home runs in the fourth innings as the Toronto Blue Jays held on for a 3-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Billy McKinney had an RBI single earlier in the fourth for Toronto (2-1). The Blue Jays have shut out the Tigers twice in a row after dropping the season opener.
Aaron Sanchez (1-0) pitched five-plus innings. Also, striking out six and giving up three hits. Sanchez and previous Jays starters Marcus Stroman and Matt Shoemaker haven’t given up a run this season.
“I was just trying to match what the other two guys did before me,” Sanchez said. When referring to shutout efforts by Marcus Stroman in a loss Thursday and by Matt Shoemaker in a win on Friday. “I was trying to do what I did in spring training and I brought it here.”
Tim Mayza, Daniel Hudson, Joe Biagini and Ken Giles kept Detroit off the scoreboard to preserve Sanchez’s win.
Miguel Cabrera led the Tigers (1-2) with a pair of singles. Before getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.
He was diagnosed with a contusion on his right hand but X-rays came back negative.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull (0-1) allowed three runs on four hits over five innings of work. Including five strikeouts.
Daniel Norris and Victor Alcantra combined for three innings of scoreless relief for Detroit.
McKinney opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a hit to right field. Although he was gunned down by Detroit right-fielder Nicholas Castellanos trying to stretch the hit into a double, it was more than enough time for Toronto third baseman Brandon Drury to score for a 1-0 lead.
Smoak added to that lead two batters later, sending a 2-2 pitch from Turnbull into the Blue Jays bullpen. The homer brought home Teoscar Hernandez, who had walked in the previous at-bat. It was Toronto’s first home run of the season.
Giles took over from Biagini in the ninth inning, striking out Christin Stewart. He then gave up a sharply hit single to Grayson Greiner before inducing a pop-fly to centre field by Dustin Peterson.
A strikeout-put out of Gordon Beckham ended the game and gave Giles his first save of the season.
Montoyo can’t stop raving about the efforts of Brandon Drury, who also got things started offensively on Saturday with a leadoff double in the fourth.
“Drury has been just lighting up the third base,” the Jays manager said. “He plays in the hole and the three balls were hit in the hole (on Friday) and they all were outs.”
In an effort to shore up things defensively, Montoyo has moved Drury in from the third-base line and so far it’s paying off.
“I want my third baseman to be off the line but not everybody can do it because it’s not that easy,” Montoyo said. “But he’s comfortable and he’s playing almost at short. He’s been great.”
The Blue Jays face off against the Tigers again on Sunday evening.