Alex Avila’s fifth-inning shot gives Tigers two-run cushion

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Tigers catcher Alex Avila played through an injured knee last postseason and wound up batting just .073/.116/.146 in 44 plate appearances. It appears he’ll be much more of a contributor this time around.

The 25-year-old launched a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of tonight’s ALDS Game 1 against the Athletics, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Even more positive for Detroit is that starter Justin Verlander appears to have settled in. He’s already up to 105 pitches but has allowed just three hits and fanned nine. The ace struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning. To the bottom of the sixth we go.

Blue Jays could move Jaime Garcia to bullpen

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Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.

Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.

Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.