Baseball / Sports

Tigers blow 5-0 lead, lose in 19 innings to Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The Tigers took a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning Sunday, then failed to score another run over the next 15 innings.

The Tigers saw a five-run lead disappear. They went on to lose to the Blue Jays, 6-5, in 19 innings at Rogers Centre.

The Tigers blew a lead in the ninth inning and lost in extra innings for the second consecutive game.

Jose Bautista hit a bases-loaded single off Rick Porcello, who was pitching in his third inning of relief.

"It was obviously very foreign, just because of my routine the whole season," Porcello said of coming into the game. He was scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

"(Justin) Verlander is pitching (today)," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Beyond that, I have no idea."

Bench coach Gene Lamont, who took over as manager after Ausmus was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Bill Miller, told Porcello to get ready to pitch when Joe Nathan was pitching -- for the third consecutive game -- in the 16th inning.

"I've come out of the bullpen before, not on a day where I'm sitting there watching the game, not prepared to pitch," Porcello said. "I was just out there trying to get outs. Unfortunately didn't go our way, but it was a hell of a game."

The game lasted 6 hours, 37 minutes. It was the second longest in duration for the Tigers since 1914, according to baseball-reference.com. It was the longest in duration and innings in the history of the Blue Jays.

Both teams had several chances to win in extra innings.

In the 13th, Bryan Holaday walked and Andrew Romine singled to center. Holaday went to third, and Romine tried to turn it into a double. He got in a rundown, and it looked like he'd avoided the tag and was safe at second, but a review reversed the call on the field, leaving the Tigers with a man on third and two outs. Rajai Davis grounded to first.

Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back singles in the 16th with one out. The Jays intentionally walked Victor Martinez, and Torii Hunter grounded into a 1-2-3 double play.

The Tigers' lead in the American League Central Division faded to a half game over the Royals, who won their seventh straight Sunday.

"Right now these guys are exhausted," Ausmus said when asked about the psychological toll the loss would take on the team. "They're obviously disappointed that they lost, but they're exhausted."

Ausmus watched the final 16 innings in his office after his third ejection of the season.

"To me the strike zone was excessive on the outside and inside corner for (Mark) Buehrle," Ausmus said.

Asked to put the game into some kind of perspective, Ausmus said: "At first you're disappointed in giving up the five-run lead. But then you're extremely encouraged by some of the performances as we move into extra innings. Some guys really stepped up and gave us a chance to win, especially coming out of the bullpen.

"Eventually, despite the fact that both teams were bending at times, they weren't breaking until the bottom of the 19th."

Blaine Hardy and Patrick McCoy each pitched three innings of relief for the Tigers. Al Alburquerque pitched a scoreless 1 2/3innings with four strikeouts with a 5-4 lead.

Davis made a couple spectacular catches the outfield and played the entire game, as did second baseman Ian Kinsler, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, shortstop Romine and right fielder Hunter.

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run single, and Nick Castellanos followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Martinez added an RBI double to left in the third inning, and Kinsler added an RBI ground-rule double in the fourth.

David Price, making his second start for the Tigers, was hit by a comebacker from Danny Valencia in the sixth inning, and things started to unravel. On the next pitch Price threw, Dioner Navarro hit a two-run home run to left.

The Blue Jays added two more runs in the seventh after Price gave up a walk and a single. Jose Reyes hit an RBI single off Phil Coke, and Melky Cabrera added an RBI single through the hole at shortstop.

Price allowed five hits, three walks and four runs over six-plus innings with six strikeouts.

The Blue Jays tied the game with two out in the ninth when Reyes singled to left-center off Joba Chamberlain to score Anthony Gose.

Right-hander Chad Jenkins gave the Jays six scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. He allowed seven hits and one walk and had four strikeouts.

(c)2014 Detroit Free Press

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