Lost on a weird, ugly day for pitchers in Detroit on Wednesday was the milestone first Major League victory for Aaron Loup.
It’s denoted right there in the newspaper boxscore, his under those of Mark Buehrle and Steve Delabar, on top of Brett Cecil, Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen. The line reads: “Loup W, 1-0.”
Loup entered the game in the sixth inning to face the top of the Tigers batting order, with the Blue Jays trailing 6-4. After allowing a leadoff single, he got Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera on outfield flyouts, then withstood Prince Fielder beating out a routine grounder to second baseman Emilio Bonifacio by inducing another fly ball from Victor Martinez.
The Jays rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh on a Mark DeRosa bases-loaded walk and J.P. Arencibia three-run double, leaving him in position to get the win. Janssen saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth.
“I was hoping we’d hold the lead so I could get the first win,” Loup said. “That was a goal coming into the year, to get a win.”
On Thursday morning in the clubhouse, Delabar presented the game ball to Loup, gave him a congratulatory slap on the back and announced to pitcher’s row: “First Major League win!”
“Really?” Buehrle replied. “Should have told us yesterday. We could have given him a beer shower.”
Loup, a reserved, quiet personality with a Louisiana drawl, texted back and forth with his father after the game, and talked by telephone with his wife. Otherwise?
“Like any other day really,” the left-hander said on Thursday morning. “It was a big win for us. To come from behind like we did, we needed it. I think it’ll get us on track.”
The game was played in temperatures ranging from 4C to 6C with intermittent rain. Tigers and Jays pitchers allowed 23 hits and issued nine walks. Three pitchers got hit with batted balls – Buehrle deflected one like a hockey goaltender to second base, another caromed off Oliver’s elbow to first baseman Mark DeRosa, and Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel got hit squarely in what Detroit News writer Tom Gage described as the “need-five-minutes-please” area of his midsection.
“It definitely wasn’t the best condition to play in,” Loup said. “Cold, wet rainy. I was trying to get a feel for the ball. The seams kind of stung, they got into your fingertips. You just had to go out there and fight through it.”
Notes: Manager John Gibbons’s starting lineup on Thursday had DeRosa at third base in order to use Maicer Izturis at second rather than Bonifacio, who’s committed a league leading four errors. Said Gibbons: “It’ll probably do him a little good to get away from it for a day. He hasn’t quit playing hard, hasn’t dropped his head, he’s just had a tough go of it.” … The temperature for Thursday’s game was colder than Wednesday’s – 2C, 15 minutes before game time, with 45 km/h wind gusts. This is the only trip to Detroit for the Blue Jays this season, prompting the teams to get the game in the books to avoid a makeup date in August. Not much fun for fans though. The Tigers sold more than 29,000 tickets for Wednesday’s game with the vast majority going unused. … Reliever Sergio Santos was held back from Wednesday’s game due to inflammation in his throwing arm. He was available to pitch in Thursday’s game. Santos, coming off 2012 shoulder surgery, said: "I’m trying to figure out what I can push through and what I can’t push through."
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