DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit manager Jim Leyland was ejected from Monday's game against Toronto for arguing a call with umpires, but his team seemed to feed off his fire and went on to beat the Blue Jays 4-2 at Comerica Park.
Leyland was thrown out of the game in the seventh inning following a dispute at first base after Tigers center fielder Andy Dirks was initially called safe and then ruled out by the first base umpire.
Leyland's reaction seemed to breathe some life into the Tigers' offense and they scored twice in the eighth to record their third win in a row.
"It just shows the fire he has to win and compete, and he's going to do anything he can for the team to go out there and win," said Tigers third baseman Don Kelly.
"Skip (Leyland) wants to compete and win, and it was a point in the game where we needed that. So he went out there and did it."
Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI triple just beyond the reach of Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth. He also scored a run in the same inning to stretch the Tigers' lead to 4-2.
"I lost it in the lights," Bautista said. "I tried to dive for it, just to block it, hoping it would fall in front of me. But it went past me. ... It was a tough moment for us."
An error by Peralta allowed Aaron Hill to reach base leading off the ninth inning and he advanced to third with a steal and a single by Jose Molina, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.
However, Tigers' closer Jose Valverde snuffed out the danger by getting pinch-hitter Juan Rivera to hit into a game-ending double play.
Detroit's Joaquin Benoit picked up the victory by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Starter Max Scherzer, who had been looking to earn his 10th win, took a no-decision after allowing two runs on six hits, striking out nine over seven innings.
Victor Martinez staked the Tigers to a 2-0 lead with RBI singles in the second and third innings, but Toronto leveled the score in the fourth on a run by Eric Thames and a solo homerun by Adam Lind.
Toronto's Marc Rzepczynski took the loss after allowing one run while facing two batters in the eighth inning. Starter Zach Stewart allowed two runs on nine hits, striking out four in six innings.
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; editing by Peter Rutherford)