Ordonez delivers in the ninth to lift Tigers past Blue Jays 5-4

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DETROIT (AP)—Fans chanted “M-V-P!” when Magglio Ordonez came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth Monday night.

Once again, he delivered.

Ordonez hit a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning, capping a four-run rally that lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

The Tigers moved within 3 1/2 games of idle New York in the AL wild-card race.

“It was a great win,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “We kept working at it and got the right guy up at the right time.”

The soft-spoken Ordonez ducked out of the clubhouse without talking to reporters.

Toronto ace Roy Halladay was one out away from his eighth complete game when he gave up singles to Sean Casey and Brandon Inge. After manager John Gibbons pulled the durable right-hander for Casey Janssen, Curtis Granderson hit a two-run single to make it 4-3.

Placido Polanco followed with a single and Gary Sheffield walked to load the bases. Ordonez delivered his fourth hit of the game, an opposite-field liner to right.

“He didn’t go up there trying to pull it,” Leyland said. “He stayed on the ball and boom—nice stroke, base hit, end of the game.”

Polanco slid in ahead of Gregg Zaun’s tag to seal the comeback.

“That’s what makes him so tough to pitch to,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Ordonez. “He uses the whole field.”

The Tigers won for the fourth time in five games. Yorman Bazardo (1-1), making his seventh appearance this season, worked the ninth for his first career win.

Halladay gave up three runs and 11 hits in 8 2-3 innings, but missed out on a chance to improve to 12-2 against the Tigers. He has lasted at least eight innings in his last six starts, yet only one of them a win.

Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Ordonez hit his major league-leading 48th double and scored on Mike Rabelo’s groundout. Halladay followed that by surrendering a two-out double to Timo Perez, but struck out Casey to end the threat.

The Blue Jays added two more in the eighth on Zaun’s two-out single, but Halladay and Janssen (2-3) could not hold the lead.

“There was no fatigue, no nothing,” Janssen said. “I needed to get an out and I just didn’t do it.”

Ordonez, likely the only challenger to the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez for the AL MVP award, raise his major league-leading average to .359. He tied a career high with four hits, and has a career-best 193 hits this season.

Kenny Rogers, making his second start since returning from the disabled list with a sore elbow, gave up nine hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings. He has not won since July 4, a span of five starts.

Reed Johnson tripled off Rogers in the first and came home on Alex Rios’ sacrifice fly. Frank Thomas scored in the fourth on Lyle Overbay’s single.

Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus left the game during the second inning after aggravating a nagging left foot injury that landed him on the disabled list in April.

Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez departed in the top of the third after experiencing dizziness. Leyland did not discuss his condition after the game.

Tigers right-hander Joel Zumaya relieved Rogers and threw 1 1-3 innings before leaving the game in the eighth with a pulled nail on his right index finger. He’s day-to-day.

Notes

An MRI exam showed no structural damage to Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman’s right elbow, but Leyland said it’s unlikely he will pitch again this season. … Overbay broke an 0-for-20 skid with his RBI single. … Monday’s crowd of 35,689 set Detroit’s season home attendance record at 2,726,622. The previous mark of 2,704,794 was set in 1984, the Tigers’ last World Series championship season. … The game was a makeup of a contest snowed out on April 5.

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