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Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers slam door on losing streak

By Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
The Detroit Tigers' Nick  Castellanos watches his grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto – Historians can forgo, for now, any deeper diving into the Tigers archives in search of data on a baseball's teams all-time worst losing streaks.

The Tigers ended an 11-game nightmare Sunday at Rogers Centre when they pelted the Blue Jays, 9-1, winning for the first time since June 17 against the White Sox at Chicago.

Two weeks of desolation disappeared, for one day, thanks to a distinguished, seven-inning start by Jordan Zimmermann, and with a bow, as well, to Nick Castellanos for his fifth-inning grand slam that Castellanos parked just beyond the right-center field fence.

This time, there were no mid-innings falterings by a Tigers starter. There were no bullpen collapses. 

BOX SCORE: Tigers 9, Blue Jays 1

The Tigers even scraped together add-on runs in the sixth and in the ninth. And they would have had two more had Kevin Pillar not made one of the more sensational outfield plays of this, or any, season when he took a second homer from Castellanos in the ninth, soaring above the center-field fence, reaching and pulling Castellanos' drive from the beyond.

In the sixth, Jose Iglesias dropped a bloop, two-run, two-out single into left-center as the Tigers turned a 5-1 game into a 7-1. In the ninth, JaCoby Jones, two batters before Castellanos was robbed, lined a two-run homer over the left-center field wall.

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Zimmermann was better than good Sunday. He not only threw seven innings, with a tidy 97 pitches, he allowed only five hits. Two of those hits were infield grounders. Two more hits were Brewers doubles that could have been gloved by first baseman John Hicks and Leonys Martin in center.

Martin left the game in the fifth after he had a hamstring cramp while running out a RBI-single bunt that had pushed across the Tigers' first run.

The Tigers had reason Sunday to wonder if this might be the wrong day to end a losing streak. It was Canada Day in Toronto, and the home crowd was robust: 37,445. 

Jays starter J.A. Happ had also been pitching nasty baseball against his big-league enemies, and he began in that fashion Sunday, putting away the Tigers in order through the first two innings.

But by the fifth, Happ's time was up, and so to was a long Tigers losing streak about to expire.

The Tigers finish their series with the Blue Jays with a Monday afternoon game.

Twitter @Lynn_Henning