DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers know that in the long run, Miguel Cabrera is impossible to replace.
For the first 24 hours, though, they are doing pretty well.
Saturday, J.D. Martinez homered and the Tigers scored eight runs for the second straight game, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-3. Fifteen of Detroit’s 16 runs have come after Cabrera’s calf injury in the fourth inning of Friday’s win.
Cabrera went on the disabled list Saturday — the first time he’s been there in his 13-year career — and the Tigers don’t have any illusions about life without him.
“It’s going to be tough without him, for sure,” said Alex Avila, who made his first career start at first base. “With him being out an extended period of time, we just need to keep it as close as possible to be able to make a run when he gets back.”
The Tigers got off to a quick start, scoring four times off R.A. Dickey in the first inning. That was more than enough for David Price (8-2), who only allowed one run in seven innings.
“R.A. settled down after that first inning, but you can’t give David Price four runs in the first inning and expect to win the game,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Dickey (3-9) allowed five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“That’s probably the worst knuckler I’ve had all season,” he said. “When you are a knuckleballer and it isn’t working, you really feel naked out there.”
In the ninth, Detroit’s Jeff Ferrell allowed a two-run homer to Chris Colabello while making his major-league debut. He had only pitched one inning above Double-A before being called up on Friday.
Avila made the day’s most spectacular defensive play, diving into the crowd far down the right-field line to retire Russell Martin in the fourth inning.
“I’m running back, had a pretty good bead on it, and that little advertising thing that kind of juts out of the fence, that kind of clipped my leg there,” he said. “I just stuck my glove out as I was falling down, and it went in.”
The Tigers showed in the first inning they can still hit a little without their two-time AL MVP. After being hit by an 0-2 knuckleball, Ian Kinsler took third on Yoenis Cespedes’ double. Victor Martinez drove home the first run with a groundout, and J.D. Martinez followed with his 22nd homer of the season.
Dickey retired Avila for the second out, but Nick Castellanos doubled and scored on James McCann’s triple.
“It’s always important to score first,” Kinsler said. “That’s the trigger to every game, especially with David Price on the mound. If you give him run support, you allow him to go to work.”
Detroit added a fifth run in the fourth on Cespedes’s RBI single, but Kevin Pillar got the Blue Jays on the board with a fifth-inning homer.
Toronto could never sustain a rally against Price, and unlike Friday, where they were no-hit for seven innings before score six times in the eighth, they didn’t have a late offensive explosion.
Jose Iglesias scored on a wild pitch by Steve Delabar in the eighth, and Kinsler followed with a two-run single.
“I think it was big that we tacked on runs,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “It seems like we haven’t done that in a while, and getting them, especially the ones in the eighth, was important.
Blue Jays: LHP Felix Doubront threw 33 pitches in relief Friday night after being called up earlier in the day. Doubront has spent much of this season recovering from a shoulder injury, but looked good in nine games with Triple-A Buffalo, and is expected to join Toronto’s rotation next week.
Tigers: Cabrera is expected to miss at least six weeks with a Grade 3 — the worst rating — strain of his left calf. Cabrera sustained the injury Friday while breaking for second base on an attempted hit-and-run.
The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday with Justin Verlander (0-1, 5.09) facing Toronto’s Marco Estrada (5-4, 3.58). Verlander will be making his fourth start of an injury-plagued season, while Estrada is 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA since moving into the rotation in early May.