Eric Haase and Dustin Garneau’s solo homer proved to be too much for the Tampa Bay Rays to overcome Sunday, as Wily Peralta and a trio of relievers combined to toss a five-hit shutout, giving the Detroit Tigers a 2-0 win at Tropicana Field.
Shane McClanahan, coming off the injured list after missing a start with lower back tightness, looked strong. In five innings of work, he struck out seven and allowed just two hits, though the second was Haase’s solo shot in the fourth that gave Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Peralta induced double plays in the first two innings to eliminate possible rallies, then got help from his catcher, as Garneau nailed Randy Arozarena trying to steal second base to end the fourth.
Pete Fairbanks worked around a two-out rally in the sixth to put up a zero, but Nick Anderson grooved a fastball to Garneau with one out in the seventh and the catcher made it 2-0 with his sixth homer of the year.
The Rays’ best opportunity came in the eighth, when Mike Zunino laced his third single of the afternoon off reliever Derek Holland. After a strikeout by pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow and a popout by pinch-hitter Manuel Margot, Jason Foley was brought in to face Nelson Cruz, who, after a pair of wild pitches that allowed Zunino to take third, drew a walk, but pinch-runner Kevin Kiermaier was thrown out trying to get into scoring position, killing the rally.
The loss cuts Tampa Bay’s lead in the American League East to 6 1/2 games with 12 games to play, while the magic number to clinch a postseason berth drops to 3 after New York lost again to Cleveland.
The Toronto Blue Jays will come to Tropicana Field to begin a three-game series beginning Monday night. Right-hande Shane Baz will make his major league debut, taking on left-hander Robbie Ray (12-5, 2.64 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10.