Toronto — Nothing says a bad season of baseball in Detroit can't get worse.
And as evidence, there was Saturday's atrocity at Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays, thanks in great part to three home runs and nine RBIs by Edwin Encarnacion, massacred the Tigers, 15-1, in a dizzying display of pitcher-pummeling.
"I am absolutely embarrassed, no question," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus following a game that was a tsunami of bad baseball by the Tigers – pitching, hitting, defense, and, yes, thinking, as evidenced by center fielder Anthony Gose, who in the fourth inning was under the impression there were three outs when there were only two, which allowed a Jays' run to score.
"Games like that happen to any team during the course of a season," Ausmus said. "But it's embarrassing when it happens to you."
Gose's gaffe was doubly ugly on a day of baseball horror for the Tigers. But the substance Saturday had more to do with a fiery Jays team that is baseball's hottest club and features a menacing mass of mid-order hitters.
Saturday's assault was headed by Encarnacion, who slammed a three-run homer in the first against Buck Farmer and a two-run shot in the sixth against Guido Knudson, all before he wrapped up his archival day with a seventh-inning grand slam against the normally stingy Alex Wilson.
Not since June, 18, 1975, when Red Sox rookie Fred Lynn crashed 10 RBIs against the Tigers at Tiger Stadium, had a single batter done as much damage in a lone game against Detroit. It was the most RBIs by a Blue Jays batter in one game since Roy Howell had nine against the Yankees in 1977.
"He was hot before we got here, and he certainly hasn't cooled off," Ausmus said of Encarnacion, a right-handed basher who has 29 homers on the year, at least one RBI in his last seven games, and who in six of his last 17 games has had at least three RBIs.
Tigers pitchers proved to be little more Saturday than pinatas against the Jays, who sent Ausmus' gang to its eighth loss in the Tigers' past nine games.
Farmer was pelted for six runs (five earned), while Knudson, Tom Gorzelanny, and Wilson each allowed three runs on a day when the Blue Jays, in front of a euphoric crowd of 46,444, lashed Detroit for 18 hits.
It was a debacle in all ways Saturday for the Tigers.
Gose, who played for Toronto ahead of a winter trade to the Tigers, allowed one run to score in the fourth when he gloved Josh Donaldson's drive to center field and began trotting off the field as if it were the third out.
There was one problem. Gose might not have been straight with his math, but Jays second baseman Ryan Goins knew he could tag from second and keep running, past third, until he crossed home plate with another run that heaped even more chagrin on a battered club.
"Clearly, he lost track of the outs," said Ausmus, who wasn't about to ridicule Gose. "When things are going good, it happens, too. But it's not noticed as much when things are going good."
The Tigers, with a shredded bullpen, will entrust Sunday's game to starter Alfredo Simon. And hope a season already disintegrating doesn't cross the line into something more disturbing than Saturday's bad day at Rogers Centre.