Blue Jays commit rare miscues in field

Blue Jays commit rare miscues in field

DETROIT -- Defense is usually one of the Blue Jays' biggest strengths, but it was a surprise weakness during an ugly 11-0 loss to the Tigers on Monday night at Comerica Park.

Toronto made a series of miscues that helped gift wrap a couple of runs to Detroit and made things even worse on a pitching staff that struggled for pretty much the entire night.

There were a pair of rare mistakes in center field by Kevin Pillar, a passed ball charged to Russell Martin, a botched throw by Devon Travis and three wild pitches. This was a night the Blue Jays would like to forget.

"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."

The tone for the night was set in a four-run second inning that started out innocently enough. Lefty starter J.A. Happ retired the first batter he faced and then appeared to have the second out of the inning when Nick Castellanos lifted a fly ball to center field.

Castellanos' triple

Pillar misread the ball off the bat and took a couple of steps in before realizing it had been hit over his head. Pillar tried to make up for it by running back, but by then it was too late, and Castellanos ended up on third base with a triple.

Later in the inning, following a three-run homer by James McCann, Ian Kinsler hit a two-out single to left. Kinsler advanced to second on a balk, went to third on a passed ball charged to Martin and eventually scored on a Happ wild pitch. It was that kind of evening for Toronto.

Kinsler scores on wild pitch

"Of course you want to get out of those situations, you want to pick everybody up that you can," Happ said. "They hit three balls through the infield today for three of their hits. It wasn't a lack of focus, it wasn't a lack of effort.

"I hate to say this, because it sounds like an excuse, it wasn't our night. It wasn't my night, that's for sure. These games happen. That doesn't mean I'm OK with it, it just means I'm moving on to the next."

The issues didn't quite end in the second there either. Pillar had a ball roll under his glove in the bottom of the sixth, which allowed Castellanos to move up to second on the single and error. Right-handed reliever Gavin Floyd then made a pair of wild pitches as everything seemed to be working against Toronto.

According to FanGraphs.com, Toronto entered play Monday night ranked eighth in the Major Leagues with 10.7 defensive runs above average, which measures players' defensive values relative to league average.

"Days like this happen, we play 162 games," Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney said. "The good thing is these losses are a little easier to rebound from than if were to, say, give something up. Just move onto tomorrow."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.