TORONTO — As the Detroit Tigers left Rogers Centre Saturday evening, workers were preparing the field for Sunday’s Canada Day festivities.
The Toronto Blue Jays will be wearing red and the stadium will be festooned with the Maple Leaf in every corner.
For the Detroit Tigers, Sunday will mark a new month and perhaps a chance to start with a clean slate.
The Tigers’ last win was June 17. Their losing streak has reached 11 games, the franchise’s longest skid since 2003. The last time the Tigers lost 12 games in a row was in 1996.
The Tigers have been outscored 68-29 during the skid, which includes two 10-run blowouts against the Cleveland Indians. Of the other nine games in the streak, eight have been decided by three runs or fewer.
The Tigers have led at some point in five of the last six.
“It’s not like we’re not trying,” said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. “We’re not getting blown out every night. It’s just not happening.”
Saturday’s loss followed a familiar script: An effective start undone by one bad inning. Multiple missed opportunities to score by the offense. A frustrating loss.
“It’s the same story,” Gardenhire said. “We’re all trying hard. We tried all kinds of things to try to make this happen.”
Tigers starter Matthew Boyd allowed three runs through six innings, striking out seven. He gave up a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run to Randal Grichuk in the fifth inning. The Blue Jays tied the game and then won on a walk-off homer by Justin Smoak in the ninth.
Boyd said the Tigers have played well at times during the streak, but the close games that went their way earlier in the season have now turned the other direction.
“It’s not incomprehensible. I understand what happened,” Boyd said. “We played good today. We came out on the wrong end of it and that’s just what happened,” Boyd said. “There’s things that we can do better, but we’re not playing bad.
“We played good baseball today. I made a few mistakes today and one of them went over the fence. That’s a two-run mistake. Unfortunately that’s how it happens sometimes.”
Boyd said he’s confident the end of the ugly streak is in sight.
“It may seem dire, but it’s not. We’re close to where we want to be and we’re going to go out there and keep playing our game,” he said.