Robertson, Pena Get Tigs back on track, Win 5-3

After a poor performance Tuesday night to open the series against the Blue Jays, the Tigers game back strong on Wednesday night, putting themselves back in the win column with a 5-3 victory. The Tigers were led by a solid performance on the mound from LHP Nate Robertson and on offense from 1B Carlos Pena. The Tigers finish up the 3-game set Thursday night.

When the announcement came out that RHP Nate Cornejo would be suspended 5 games, manager Alan Trammell elected to give his start to lefty Nate Robertson, who was still competing for the yet-to-be-decided final spot in the rotation. However, Trammell made it clear that Robertson starting the game didn't necessarily mean he had won the job as the team's fifth starter. After Wednesday night's performance though, Trammell's decision might have gotten a little bit easier.

Robertson only spent 5 innings on the mound, but never-the-less was very impressive. Robertson allowed 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 7 and walking three. Through 11 innings this season, Robertson has struck out 16 batters. The Tigers bullpen was shaky yet again, but was able to close out the game and preserve the victory.

Offensively, Detroit kicked off their onslaught early, putting up 4 runs in the 1st against Toronto starter Ted Lilly. The key hit of the inning was a double to deep right center by 1B Carlos Pena, which scored two runs. RF Bobby Higginson also had a pair of RBI, singling in a run in the first, and driving in Pena off a sacrifice fly in the 6th.

The Blue Jays meanwhile have done nothing but display that they don't appear ready to challenge in a league that features two of the top teams in baseball, as well as rapidly improving squads in Baltimore and Tampa. Nothing is more shocking about the Blue Jays slow start than the performance of their top two hitters, CF Vernon Wells (.229, 0 HR, 2 RBI) and 1B Carlos Delgado (.161, 2, 5). With the loss, they've now lost 4 games to the Tigers this season. For comparison, the Blue Jays only lost 3 games to the Tigers the past three seasons combined.

The series finale comes Thursday night at 7:05PM. In a rematch of the season opener, RHP Jason Johnson is slated to go up against Toronto ace Roy Halladay.


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