Detroit — Goodbye, oh invincible Rally Goose. Farewell, four-game winning streak.
All the grand things a baseball team had been doing for most of the past week dissolved Sunday at Comerica Park when the Blue Jays popped the Tigers, 8-4, slapping them with their first loss since a goose crashed into a Comerica scoreboard Wednesday and prompted a five-day, bird-flavored fun-fest that had extended through the weekend.
"It's still got a winning record," said Tigers catcher James McCann, speaking of the goose-decoy resting above his locker, which had become a Tigers totem in recent days. "There's no such thing as a perfect goose."
Michael Fulmer had what appeared to be the makings of a masterpiece through five innings: a shutout, three Blue Jays hits, and a handsome pitch-count due to needing only 40 tosses through the first four innings.
But he gave up a two-out, nine-pitch walk to Yangervis Solarte in the sixth, then got behind Justin Smoak, who ultimately put a 3-2 fastball 412 feet up the right-center field seats to put Toronto on top, 2-0.
Fulmer exited in the seventh and his follow-up act, Warwick Saupold, had a more distressing time, dishing out four hits and four more runs, two of which were charged to Fulmer, whose season ERA sits at 4.73.
"I told him he should be happy — he threw the ball really well," Gardenhire said after Fulmer had, for most of the game, pitched Fulmer-brand ball, with his fastball popping at 96-97, a slider that behaved faithfully, and a sinker that drew a stream of ground-ball outs.
"The other guy (Jays starter Aaron Sanchez) just didn't give us anything to hit."
Leonys Martin hit a leadoff homer to right in the sixth for the Tigers' first run. They got three more runs in the eighth on a walk to Martin, and follow-up singles from Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, and Niko Goodrum, as well as a wild-pitch that scored Candelario.
But that was the story, offensively, on an afternoon when Sanchez and his bullpen friends rationed six Tigers hits.
Fulmer began Sunday's game beautifully: eight pitches in a 1-2-3 first, seven in a mow-down second. But the walk to Solarte in the seventh, after which he went 3-and-0 on Smoak, set up a 95-mph fastball on 3-and-2 that Smoak drove like a 1-iron golf shot into right-center's heavens for a 2-0 Jays lead.
"Felt good, a lot of ground balls, and my sinker was working, finally," Fulmer said afterward. "I've just got to be better than their starter. That's my job."
After both Fulmer and Saupold had been tagged in the seventh, Zac Reininger was socked for two more runs in the eighth on Randal Grichuk's homer.
The Tigers will play the Yankees Monday in a day-night doubleheader (1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m.) at Comerica Park necessitated by ugly weather during New York's visit in April.
Drew VerHagen will return to Detroit and start Monday's first game after he was designated for assignment, cleared waivers, and returned to Triple-A Toledo last month for what turned into an overpowering string of innings for the Mud Hens.
Mike Fiers will start Monday evening's game for Detroit.
The Tigers have also added to their roster Double-A pitcher Sandy Baez, a right-hander, who will be bullpen support. Sanchez will be a 26th player, which is allowed on days teams play doubleheaders.
To make roster room for VerHagen, the Tigers sent reliever Johnny Barbato to Toledo.