TORONTO (AP)—A raucous opening day in Toronto took a sour turn because of some unruly fans that Detroit outfielder Josh Anderson called “disrespectful.”
Adam Lind homered and drove in six runs, Roy Halladay coasted with a big lead and the Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 12-5 Monday night in a game that was briefly delayed when fans began throwing baseballs and trash on the field.
Crew chief Ed Montague waved both teams into the dugout for nine minutes in the bottom of the eighth inning after two balls were thrown from the stands in the direction of Anderson, the Tigers’ left fielder.
“Both of them were pretty close,” Anderson said. “If it hits you in the head, it could do some damage. After the second one I said, ‘That’s enough.”’
Groundskeepers cleared a handful of paper airplanes and empty beer cups from the warning track as the public address announcer read a message warning the crowd of 48,027 that the game could be forfeited.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s main concern was the safety of the players, but he said the incident was “no big deal.”
“There were thousands of great fans here tonight,” Leyland said. “Ice-cold Labatts and a big win for the Blue Jays—they were having a great time. But you can’t endanger any players, whether they’re you’re players or someone else’s. You just can’t do it.”
Toronto manager Cito Gaston agreed.
“I’ve never seen that here before,” Gaston said. “I apologize to those Detroit players, a couple of those balls came really close to hitting those kids out there.”
Halladay called opening day “a different animal” when it comes to fan behavior.
“You get a lot of people and a lot of excitement and I’m sure a little bit of beer in there and you never know,” Halladay said. “I’m just glad the message was passed out and we kind of got things back to order.”
Lind had four hits and set a team record for RBIs in an opener. The Blue Jays roughed up Justin Verlander (0-1), who matched a career worst by allowing eight earned runs in only 3 2-3 innings.
“If somebody had told me going into the game that it would end up 12-5, I would have said they were crazy with those two guys pitching,” Leyland said.
Rookie Travis Snider also homered, one of the Blue Jays’ 15 hits, six of which came from Snider and Lind.
“We saw a little bit of it last year,” Halladay said of Toronto’s pair of young sluggers. “They’re getting comfortable and they’re going to be big parts of our lineup. It’s nice to see them get off to that good start.”
Making his team-record seventh consecutive opening-day start, Halladay (1-0) pitched seven innings. He improved to 12-2 in 16 career games against the Tigers and 3-3 overall on opening day.
Halladay didn’t give up a hit until Curtis Granderson homered to start the fourth. The former Cy Young Award winner allowed five runs and six hits.
Verlander, who pitched a no-hitter in 2007, did little to erase the memories of his 11-17 season last year.
The Blue Jays jumped on him with a four-run first, doing all their scoring with two outs. Alex Rios walked, Vernon Wells doubled and both runners scored on Lind’s single. After Scott Rolen was hit by a pitch, Lyle Overbay hit a two-run double.
Toronto chased Verlander in the fourth. Snider homered, Marco Scutaro tripled and scored on Aaron Hill’s sacrifice fly. A double by Rios and a walk to Wells finished Verlander, and reliever Eddie Bonine gave up Lind’s home run.
“I’m always somebody who’s going to try to take away positives,” Verlander said. “I know tonight that I had good stuff and made pitches that I wanted for the most part. Just, some things got compounded and it ended up not looking very good.”
“Obviously, that’s a lot of runs,” Halladay said. “We probably won’t have that all year but it’s a great start and a great sign.”
The Blue Jays are 17-16 on opening day. … RHP Matt Clement, sent to Triple-A after failing to win a spot in Toronto’s rotation, announced his retirement Sunday. An All-Star in 2005, Clement’s career was cut short by shoulder injuries. He last pitched in the major leagues with Boston in 2006. … The Blue Jays will wear a shoulder patch this season commemorating late owner Ted Rogers, who died last December. A video tribute to Rogers was played after the third inning. … Verlander also allowed eight earned runs in a loss to Cleveland on Aug. 26, 2006.