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McDonald, Towers help Jays hand Tigers' Robertson first defeat

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Josh Towers turned a chorus of boos into a standing ovation.

Towers allowed one unearned run over 7 2/3 solid innings, John McDonald drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning single and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Sunday.

"He was outstanding today against a good lineup," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "Tip your hat to the kid. He needed that and we needed that."

Towers (1-1) posted his first win as a starter since last May 14 at Tampa Bay. He began last season 0-9, finishing 2-10 with an 8.42 ERA.

"It's been a long road for him the last year," Gibbons said. "He did it the right way today. That should go a long way to improving his confidence."

On Sunday, the 30-year-old right-hander allowed one unearned run, walked one, struck out four and retired 12 straight batters between the second and seventh innings. He was booed twice by Toronto fans in the first two innings but walked off to a cheers from the crowd of 25, 983.

"I haven't done much here lately to get cheered, especially last year," said Towers, adding that he won without his best stuff.

"Truthfully, I didn't really feel that good with my stuff today," he said. "We shied away from the change-up and the curveball because it really wasn't doing anything, kind of just stayed with the fastball and slider. Zaunie (catcher Gregg Zaun) did a great job of mixing it up and calling the right game when he knew my game wasn't really there."

McDonald broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out single that brought in Royce Clayton, who ran through third base coach Brian Butterfield's stop sign and scored without a play at the plate. Gary Sheffield's throw from right was cut off by first baseman Sean Casey, who thought he had McDonald hung up between first and second.

"I got a good jump, I knew it was going to fall in," said Clayton. "By the time I got to (Buterfield) it was too late. I'd pretty much made up my mind."

Shaun Marcum worked a perfect ninth for his first career save.

"I had a lot more adrenaline today," Marcum said. "I couldn't locate my fastball for anything, I was so fired up. My heart was beating a thousand miles an hour."

The game didn't start well for Towers. Curtis Granderson led off with a single and Sheffield was hit by a pitch. Towers first heard boos when he tried to pick Granderson off at second but his throw hit Granderson in the back and rolled into the outfield, allowing Granderson to score the game's first run.

In the second, Towers nearly got himself into more trouble when he forgot how many outs there were. With Sean Casey at first after a one-out walk, Towers speared a comebacker from Craig Monroe but never looked at second for the double play, firing the ball to first instead. The crowd booed again, but Towers escaped unharmed by striking out Brandon Inge.

"You can't forget how many outs there are," Towers said. "You can make physical mistakes but you can't make mental mistakes like that."

Frank Thomas doubled to begin the Toronto second and went to third on a single by Lyle Overbay. Adam Lind scored Thomas with a two-out single to center but Overbay was thrown out at the plate by Granderson.

Nate Robertson (2-1) lost for the first time in three starts, allowing two runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.

"Nate did more than just give us a chance," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We just didn't get our bats going."

Notes

  • Before the game, the Blue Jays put closer B.J. Ryan on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left elbow and purchased the contract of right-hander Jaime Vermilyea from Triple-A Syracuse.
  • Detroit outfielder Craig Monroe was a late scratch because of flu-like symptoms.
  • Magglio Ordonez played designated hitter for the Tigers instead of the outfield because of a gash on his lower leg caused by a broken bat during Saturday's game.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Josh Towers tames the Tigers to claim his first victory as a starter since May 14, 2006.  (AP)
Josh Towers tames the Tigers to claim his first victory as a starter since May 14, 2006. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

J. Towers
IP 7.2
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 4
Toronto

J. McDonald
AB 2
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4110000 .265
Placido Polanco, 2B3000001 .354
Gary Sheffield, RF3000011 .122
Magglio Ordonez, DH4000012 .234
Carlos Guillen, SS3000011 .244
Ivan Rodriguez, C3020000 .277
Sean Casey, 1B2000101 .200
Craig Monroe, LF3000000 .214
Brandon Inge, 3B3000021 .128
Totals2813015  
Batting
CS - Ivan Rodriguez (1, 2nd base by Towers/Zaun)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Curtis Granderson 1
E - Curtis Granderson (1, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
Nate Robertson (L,2-1) 7722250 1.80
Joel Zumaya 1000000 1.17
Pitches-Strikes - Nate Robertson 95-58, Joel Zumaya 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Robertson 5-10, Joel Zumaya 1-2
Batters Faced - Nate Robertson 29, Joel Zumaya 3
Toronto Blue Jays
Alex Rios, RF4000013 .308
Aaron Hill, 2B4000023 .370
Vernon Wells, CF4000011 .245
Frank Thomas, DH3110100 .200
Gregg Zaun, C4000002 .231
Lyle Overbay, 1B3020001 .250
Royce Clayton, SS3110013 .290
Adam Lind, LF3011001 .500
John McDonald, 3B2021100 .500
Totals3027225  
Batting
2B - Frank Thomas (1, Robertson), Royce Clayton (5, Robertson), John McDonald (2, Robertson)
RBI - Adam Lind (1), John McDonald (1)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Lind (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - McDonald-Hill-Overbay
E - Josh Towers (1, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Towers (W,1-1) 7.2310140 2.03
Scott Downs (H,1) 0.1000000 0.00
Shaun Marcum (S,1) 1000010 3.38
HBP - Sheffield (by Josh Towers), Polanco (by Josh Towers)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Towers 95-58, Scott Downs 2-2, Shaun Marcum 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Towers 10-7, Scott Downs 1-0
Batters Faced - Josh Towers 27, Scott Downs 1, Shaun Marcum 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25983
Game Time - 2:08
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - James Hoye