TORONTO – Stuck in a slump, this was not quite the pitcher the 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’ve 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 gave up 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.