Canadians are generally happy people, eh? Whoever said that clearly wasn’t at Rogers Center on Thursday night, when the Tigers bounced the Blue Jays, 11-1, for their third win in a row to close the four-game set. By the time this one was wrapping up, Blue Jays fans were so fed up with what had taken place, that they took every opportunity to voice their frustration — even booing loudly and mercilessly when Justin Verlander, in the seventh inning, had the nerve to call time and tie his shoe. The last time Verlander pitched here, of course, they couldn’t help but cheer. That was in May 2011, when the Tigers ace threw his second career no-hitter. And for a more than a fleeting moment Thursday, you couldn’t help but think that maybe, history just might repeat itself. “After the first few innings, yeah, of course I did,” Verlander said when asked if he was having flashbacks, himself. “Uh, yes.” He breezed through the first three innings without allowing a runner — needing just seven pitches to get through both the second and third — and got out the first two men in the fourth inning. Then Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays star slugger playing his first game of the series after nursing a hamstring injury, put an end to those thoughts with a sharp, clean single over Jhonny Peralta’s head and into left-center field. That took away the only drama on this night. There was no retaliation on the Tigers’ part for the takeout slide the night before by Colby Rasmus, who went 0-for-4. “He threw exceptionally well,” manager Jim Leyland said of his ace, who made some shoulder-angle corrections before his last start. “He used all of his pitches like he normally does. And he was just in command all the way.” Several Tigers said that’s the best they’ve seen their ace this year; Verlander wasn’t quite as definitive. Verlander allowed no earned runs in three of his previous starts this season, but none of those opponents — the Royals, Astros and Twins — have close to an offense that can compare to these Blue Jays. He probably could’ve gone beyond seven innings for the second start in a row, but he exited with the Tigers coasting to victory.
Justin Verlander, Tigers bats shine in 11-1 rout of Blue Jays
Detroit News | Jul 5