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HomeSportKenta Maeda throws 5 scoreless innings and Tigers beat Blue Jays 6-2

Kenta Maeda throws 5 scoreless innings and Tigers beat Blue Jays 6-2


AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenta Maeda pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Detroit.

DETROIT (AP) — Colt Keith hit his first major league home run and Kenta Maeda pitched five scoreless innings in his return to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 Friday night and clinch a season-high five-game losing streak.

A season ticket holder picked up the ball and gave it to Keith on the field, where he signed a bat for the fan. By the time Keith got to his locker after the game, the memento was in a glass case.

“I feel like I’ve been dreaming about that for a while,” the 22-year-old second baseman said. “It was a bit of a blur when it happened.”

Keith turned on a full-count, two-out pitch from Alek Manoah (1-2) in the second inning and sent the ball 400 feet to right, taking full advantage of a hanging changeup.

“It was a good swing,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “He’s a good young player.”

Keith has shown some of the promise the Tigers were counting on when they signed him to a $28 million guaranteed contract in January, even though he had only minor league experience. He scored fourteen goals in his last eight games.

“Every day I’m getting a little looser and seeing the ball a little better,” he said.

Maeda (2-1) gave up four hits without a walk and bounced back strongly from an illness that left him on the injured list since May 7.

Beau Brieske had 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and Will Vest retired one batter in the eighth.

The Blue Jays avoided a shutout with two outs in the ninth, scoring on singles by Davis Schneider and Alejandro Kirk off Andrew Chafin.

Tigers manager AJ Hinch pulled Chafin and brought Jason Foley to the mound for the final out and his 11th save. He eliminated Danny Jansen on a helicopter to third base, leaving two runners stranded.

Manoah gave up six runs – four earned – on five hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings, coming off consecutive seven-inning games in which he did not allow an earned run.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound right-hander was relegated to a slow walk toward the dugout when Kerry Carpenter chased him down with a two-run homer in the fifth.

“It’s going to sound a little funny, I thought he threw the ball well,” Schneider said.

Manoah didn’t get much help defensively in the fourth as center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was fouled when he nearly collided with left fielder Daulton Varsho, allowing the first of three runs in the inning.

“It’s rare for these guys to miscommunicate,” Schneider said. “It’s the best outfield in Major League Baseball.”

HE DOES IT ALL

Before the game, Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson hit a home run to left during batting practice.

“It was awesome,” Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said.

NEXT ONE

In the third game of the four-game series, Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (5-3, 2.98) and RHP Reese Olson (0-5, 2.16) are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

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