DETROIT -- Jim Leyland doesn't get ejected to fire up his club. If he needs that to motivate his team, he likes to say, he should go home.
Instead, he went to his office once he earned his dismissal from first-base umpire Ed Rapuano. The sight of Leyland's arms waving, his head bobbing as he shouted, made a memory for the 25,181 in attendance and the players in the dugout.
The sight of Jhonny Peralta's sinking line drive bouncing past Jose Bautista in right field proved bigger, providing the Tigers with a go-ahead rally in the eighth inning for the second straight game in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
It wasn't a seven-run surge, like Detroit enjoyed while dispatching Arizona on Sunday, but it was enough to help the Tigers stay atop the American League Central. It also moved Detroit back to their high point of seven games over .500 and five games up on the idle White Sox.
"It was a good win for us," said manager Jim Leyland. "It's tough. We're playing a lot of games right up until the [All-Star break]. I'm proud of the guys. They battled."
Much of that battling took place with Leyland back in the clubhouse, something he probably wasn't proud of and wasn't discussing afterwards. When a reversed call turned what was briefly an Andy Dirks bunt single into an out, Leyland erupted in an animated tirade on Rapuano for turning to home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for a second opinion. Detroit's skipper clearly knew Dirks was out, but the problem was the reversal when Rapuano's view wasn't blocked.
Suddenly, there was the sight of Leyland along the first-base line, giving his best impression of Rapuano's indecision -- a tepid, delayed safe call, then out. Rapuano's gesture to eject him was a lot quicker.
It was a rare argument and first ejection of the season for Leyland. His players seemed to appreciate it.
"We all had a nice little chuckle in the dugout," said Tigers starter Max Scherzer. "Good old Skip, giving his best to the umpires."
Even with the reversed call, the Tigers had put the go-ahead run into scoring position in the seventh inning, only to watch former Tigers draft pick Jason Frasor retire Miguel Cabrera to strand two and keep the game tied.
Once Magglio Ordonez's one-out single the next inning, his second hit of the night, put the go-ahead run back on base, the Tigers took advantage.
Austin Jackson was part of the big eighth inning Sunday night, but not a part of the rally. He made two of the three outs that inning, striking out both times he came up, and his three-strikeout night preceded Leyland's decision to give him a night off for the second time in six days.
Once Ordonez reached base against Jays lefty Marc Rzepczynski (2-2), acting manager and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon didn't hesitate to put Jackson in the game -- and he didn't want Jackson hesitating once he reached first base to pinch-run.
"It's fun for me and exciting for me to try to get in there and face that challenge to get into scoring position," Jackson said.
After a first-pitch foul ball, Jackson took off on the next offering from right-hander Shawn Camp, swiping his 13th base of the year. Two pitches later, he had to hesitate and watch as Bautista closed in on Peralta's sinking liner.
"In that situation, as a baserunner, I think the best thing you can do is just read his reaction," Jackson said. "He kind of had to dive a little bit, so you try to stay close enough to where maybe you can get back and tag, but if it does drop in that situation, be off and able to score."
All the while, Bautista's reaction was one of an outfielder tracking the ball and expecting to make the catch. Bautista said later, however, he was searching for the ball against the glare of the lights.
"Right off the bat, I knew I had a shot standing up," Bautista said. "And halfway through the flight of the line drive, the ball got into the lights and I took about six or seven steps hoping it would come out -- that's when I decided to slide for it, because I lost it for the last six or seven steps."
Said Jackson: "I thought he had a good chance to catch it, and he did [have a shot]. It just went under his glove."
Jackson scored easily as the ball kept rolling in right field. Peralta took off and reached third base standing up, having driven in his 46th run of the year. He's tied for second on the team with Victor Martinez, even though he's been batting seventh in the order more often than not.
Add together this half-season in 2011 with his two months in Detroit after his trade from Cleveland last year, and Peralta has 20 home runs and 83 RBIs in 126 games. Whether it earns him an All-Star nod next weekend remains to be seen, but it has stretched out the run-production portion of Detroit's lineup.
"Big hit after big hit," Leyland said, "and that's why we got him last year."
The rally made a winner out of Joaquin Benoit (2-3), who registered a scoreless eighth inning. Max Scherzer wasn't able to join Justin Verlander among 10-game winners, but his seven innings of two-run ball kept the Tigers in the game, and he equaled his season high with nine strikeouts.