Detroit’s Omar Infante slides home safely ahead of the tag of Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia on a Torii Hunter’ two-run single in the fifth inning in Detroit Thursday.
DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera set the tone in the first inning, stealing third before the opposing pitcher even started his motion.
On a chilly day when the ball didn’t appear to be carrying, the Detroit Tigers kept their legs moving.
Cabrera tripled and scored twice, and the Tigers knocked Josh Johnson out of the game with a five-run second inning en route to an 11-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. There were no home runs on this wet day, but Detroit didn’t need any.
“Miggy stealing, getting a triple — we were running around a lot today,” catcher Alex Avila said. “Had to — it was pretty cold outside.”
Avila described the weather as “miserable” — it was 35 degrees at game time, and there was a bit of rain to play through as well. It was the lowest game-time temperature for a Detroit home game since 1996, according to STATS.
“It was definitely football weather out there, but once you get in the box, you sit in the box, you’re there to compete,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. “You’re really not thinking about all that until you get jammed or hit one off the end and feel like your fingers are left there at the plate while you’re running to first.”
Doug Fister (2-0) wore short sleeves and pitched fine, allowing a run and eight hits in eight innings for Detroit. Johnson (0-1) allowed six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings — the shortest start of his career.
Prince Fielder had four RBIs and Hunter added three for the Tigers.
Cabrera caught Toronto napping in the first, going from second to third without a pitch being thrown. By the time Johnson and the Blue Jays realized he was stealing, it was too late to make a play.
Victor Martinez’s RBI single made it 1-0.
Mark DeRosa tied it with a sacrifice fly, but Johnson got only one out in the second.
Jhonny Peralta singled and went to third on Alex Avila’s single. Omar Infante made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly, and Avila was also able to tag up and go to second on that play. He scored from there on Austin Jackson’s single, with Jackson taking second on the throw.
Detroit’s offense certainly isn’t built on speed, but the Tigers were quick to take the extra base Thursday. Jackson scored from second on Hunter’s single, and Cabrera then tripled to right-center.
Fielder added a run-scoring single to make it 6-1 and chase Johnson.
“I haven’t thrown a slider for a strike yet, and I need that pitch. When I’m throwing it for strikes, it is something that the hitters have to think about, but this is two starts now, and it hasn’t happened,” Johnson said. “I didn’t have anything today. They were all over my curveball for some reason, and the fastball was just hanging over the plate.”
Toronto, a chic pick to win the AL East after acquiring Johnson, Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey in the offseason, has lost three straight series to start the year for the first time since 1978, when it lost four straight series
Fister struck out five and walked one while looking unconcerned by the cold.
“It’s just consistency. You go out there, and as long as you’re moving and things are all right, it’s not too cold,” Fister said. “Again, it’s a mindset.”
The Tigers blew a 6-1 lead in an 8-6 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, but they had no trouble holding on this time. Jackson had three hits and three runs for Detroit. He’s reached base in all nine games this year.
Hunter hit a two-run single in the fifth, and Fielder added a two-run double.
Fielder’s sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 11-1.
NOTES: Detroit had 16 hits. ... The Tigers still haven’t made an error this season. ... Johnson’s shortest previous start was 2 2-3 innings at San Diego last season. ... The Tigers hosted a game in 34-degree weather on April 9, 1996, against Seattle at old Tiger Stadium. ... Detroit plays at Oakland on Friday night in a rematch of last year’s AL Division Series, won by the Tigers in five games. Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (1-0) faces Oakland RHP Bartolo Colon (1-0). ... Toronto is at Kansas City on Friday night. The Blue Jays send LHP J.A. Happ (1-0) to the mound against RHP Luis Mendoza (0-0).MORE IN Sports Wire
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