Jays mauled in Motor City

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:03 PM ET

DETROIT -- It was ugly, it was painful and in the end it was a slaughter.

For the Detroit Tigers it was a Sunday afternoon laugher, but in the Blue Jays clubhouse no one was laughing.

As far as rookie right-hander Dustin McGowan was concerned, it was a nightmare as the Tigers pounded him for seven runs in the first inning, 12 runs in all, and then cruised to a 17-6 victory for a sweep of the three-game series.

"It was a Motor City Mauling," Jays manager John Gibbons said.

POOR START

In the first inning, McGowan faced 12 batters, allowed six hits including a three-run homer by Carlos Pena and walked two. The next inning he hit Pena, then gave up a two-run shot to Craig Monroe.

After an RBI double by Placido Polanco in the fifth scored the Tigers' 10th run, Gibbons mercifully came out and removed him from the game.

McGowan left two on base and both came around to score against Brandon League so his pitching line read: 4 1/3 innings, nine hits, 12 runs, 10 earned runs, two walks, two strikeouts, two home runs, three batters hit.

It was McGowan's first major league loss and one he'll never forget.

"He's going to be a heck of a pitcher some day," Gibbons said of McGowan, the Jays' first-round draft pick in 2000. "It was a tough start (yesterday) and we were never really in it from the get-go.

"But he'll learn from that and some day he'll look back at this and laugh."

But not yesterday.

"I hope I do (laugh some day) but right now I can't," McGowan said. "It was a pretty important game to give the bullpen a rest. I've got to brush this one off, put it behind you."

McGowan, who had no command, put Gibbons in a tough spot. He didn't want to use his overworked bullpen and he didn't want to leave McGowan in too long and crush his spirit and confidence.

"We had no choice (yesterday), we had to get some innings out of him," Gibbons said. "But we weren't going to abuse him by any means."

He didn't think his confidence was shaken.

"I would hope not," Gibbons said. "He's a confident kid to begin with, you can tell by the way he goes about his business, the way he acts. There has never been a great one that played this game that didn't get knocked on their butt. It's just a matter of if you get back up or not."

The poor play didn't begin and end with McGowan as the Jays were also sloppy in the field. It was easily the worst game they've played this season.

The loss dropped them to 4-5 on their 13-game odyssey across North America with four games against the New York Yankees still to come. Then, it's back home for three games against the Cleveland Indians, another team ahead of the Jays in the wild-card race. Clearly, it's a huge week for the Jays.

This season has been so goofy and the Jays so unpredictable and resilient they could bounce back and take three of four in the Bronx. At least that's what Gibbons is counting on.

"We go to New York, get rejuvenated," he said. "That place usually brings out the best in you. We'll bounce back, we always seem to."

First, they'll have to put yesterday's fiasco behind them and quick.

"We survived it, we move on," Gibbons said. "There's more tough ones ahead of us."

Starting tonight in the Bronx.


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