Fulmer adds 6 zeros to streak in rout of Blue Jays
By Jason Beck and Gregor Chisholm
DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer continued his scoreless streak with six innings of two-hit ball, while the Tigers beat up on J.A. Happ, extending their winning streak to four games with an 11-0 win over the Blue Jays on Monday night at Comerica Park.
Fulmer (6-1), who tossed seven or more scoreless innings in his each of his previous two outings, was denied a chance at a third only by a long Tigers sixth inning and a lopsided score. He still extended his scoreless streak to 22 1/3 innings, a Tigers rookie record. A pair of singles from ninth hitter Darwin Barney were the lone hits Fulmer allowed, along with three walks.
"He really has been dominant," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's been our best pitcher, probably, over the last 3 1/2 weeks, whatever that stretch is. I don't know that I would've predicted it from a young pitcher like that coming up, but he's done an excellent job."
James McCann's three-run homer in the second inning began a Detroit onslaught against Happ (6-3), whose six runs allowed were more than his previous three outings combined. He became the fourth consecutive left-handed starter beaten by the Tigers, who struggled against lefties for the first six weeks of the season.
Three sixth-inning add-on runs against Gavin Floyd essentially put the game away.
"Not a lot went right for us, losing 11-0," Happ said. "But as far as executing, I try to be honest with myself after every game, I go and look at the video. To be 100 percent honest, I feel like I executed very similar to the way I did tonight in a lot of starts and had a lot more success. We're going to move on, and hopefully this was an anomaly."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Upton, up and away: A day after Justin Upton swung away at a 3-0 pitch for a two-run single, Upton did his damage after falling into a 0-2 count. Upton worked the count full against Happ before lining a two-run homer off the railing above the right-field fence, extending the Tigers' advantage to 6-0 in the fourth.
"I think he's just trusting, reacting," Ausmus said. "He says his swing feels good, so when your swing feels good, now all you have to do really is see the ball and swing at good pitches." More >
Letting it slip away: McCann's home run wasn't the only issue Happ encountered in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Detroit's Ian Kinsler singled to left field and advanced to second on a balk. Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was then charged with a passed ball and Happ later threw a wild pitch, which allowed Kinsler to score without an additional hit. The defensive issues continued throughout the night for Toronto, as Kevin Pillar misread a fly ball early in the game and then committed an error in the sixth.
"We laid an egg, you just move on and come back tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was one of those games, every phase of the game we weren't very good tonight. It's probably nothing more than that." More >
J.D. delivers on defense: While Fulmer didn't encounter a ton of trouble, his scoreless streak rolled on thanks in part to a key catch from J.D. Martinez to end the third inning. Edwin Encarnacion's drive turned Martinez the wrong direction before he tracked it to the right-field wall, making the catch and then holding on after impact.
"That got me going a little bit," Fulmer said. "That was awesome."
"McCann put a swing on a pitch that was down and in, off the plate. Ninety-eight out of 100 times, that result won't happen. You just have to keep moving forward, trust that I'll keep executing and get those good results." -- Happ, on the three-run shot by McCann in the second
"It got caught in the matrix." -- Kinsler, on Barney's first hit, a ground ball through the right side on which Kinsler struggled to see the ball and broke in the wrong direction
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According to research on baseball-reference, Fulmer is the first Tigers pitcher since at least 1913 to toss three consecutive outings of at least six scoreless innings on three or fewer hits. Max Scherzer (2013) and Mickey Lolich (1968) were the only other Tigers to throw such outings in back-to-back starts.
The Blue Jays were shut out for the third time this season, and first since May 24, when they lost 6-0 to the Yankees.
After hearing from Gibbons, crew chief umpire Larry Vanover agreed to take a closer look at Upton's two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning. Following a brief 30-second crew-chief review, the original call on the field was confirmed and Upton was granted his fourth home run of the season. The replay clearly showed the ball hit a metal fence above the wall before bouncing back onto the field.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Aaron Sanchez (5-1, 2.99 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their series against the Tigers on Tuesday night at Comerica Park at 7:10 p.m. ET. Sanchez has surrendered three runs or fewer in all but two of his 11 starts this season. He has never made a start vs. the Tigers, but he has faced them three times out of the bullpen.
Tigers: Matt Boyd (0-1), the former Blue Jays prospect who came over in the David Price trade last summer, will face his old team a second time as he makes his third start of the season for the Tigers on Tuesday night. Boyd took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning last Thursday against the Yankees before a four-run rally sent him to defeat.