Jays shooting for fifth straight win in rematch with Tigers

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The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be heating up as the All-Star break approaches

They have won four straight heading into their road game against Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

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Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman will start the second game of the series. Gausman (7-4, 3.04 ERA) leads the American League with 146 strikeouts and has only given up nine home runs in 18 starts.

He has posted 13 quality starts, most recently on June 27 when he held San Francisco to one run and three hits while striking out 12 in six innings.

In his last outing, Gausman gave up two runs and five hits while notching seven strikeouts against Boston. However, he labored at times, requiring 98 pitches to get through five innings.

Gausman, who is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 10 career starts against Detroit, will be making his last start prior to the All-Star Game. He was chosen for the second time in his career. He was selected in 2021 during his last season with San Francisco.

“In 2021 I definitely should have been an All-Star, without a doubt,” Gausman said. “This year, I kind of think that way, too. So I’m glad that both times I should have been, I am. Unfortunately, some guys have incredible first halves and aren’t All-Stars. I’m just lucky enough that the managers and players voted me in. It’s an incredible honor, and I definitely don’t take it lightly.”

Right-hander Matt Manning, who will oppose Gausman, is just grateful to be pitching regularly again. Manning (2-1, 4.84) missed 2 1/2 months after sustaining a fractured toe in his second start this season.

He has made two starts since returning from the injured list. He gave up two runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings against Texas on June 27, then allowed four runs and five hits in five innings at Colorado on Sunday.

Manning threw 96 pitches against the Rockies and lasted long enough to collect a victory.

“Any time you can come out of here with a win, I think it went well,” Manning said. “It took me a couple of innings to feel what my body was going to do in the altitude, but during innings 3-to-5, I thought I was fine and put us in a position to win. That’s all you can ask for.”

The Blue Jays romped 12-2 in the series opener. Whit Merrifield hit a three-run-homer in the ninth inning, giving him three homers in the last two games. He finished with four RBIs

George Springer also homered and drove in three runs, and Kevin Kiermaier had four hits and drove in a run.

“The offense was great tonight,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “George got us started with the big homer early, and Whit capped it off at the end.

Detroit could get a major offensive boost on Saturday. Center fielder Riley Greene is expected to be activated from the injured list. He has not played since May 30 due to a stress reaction in his left leg.

Greene is batting .296 with 29 runs scored, five homers and 18 RBIs in 52 games.

–Field Level Media

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