Jose Bautista broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single, Brett Lawrie had a three-run homer later in the frame and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied late to top the Detroit Tigers, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game set from Comerica Park.
Detroit went to its closer in a 0-0 tie, but Joe Nathan (2-2) started the top of the ninth by walking Anthony Gose. Gose then broke for second and had the bag stolen easily as Nathan's breaking pitch bounced in the dirt and made its way to the backstop.
Jose Reyes poked a single the opposite way to left field, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Melky Cabrera followed by popping up to deep shortstop, but Bautista picked him up, grounding the first pitch he saw sharply up the middle and into center field, easily scoring Gose for the game's first run.
Edwin Encarnacion then worked a walk, Kevin Pillar added a run with a sacrifice fly off Ian Krol and Lawrie lined an opposite field blast to right off Al Alburquerque to make it 5-0.
Steve Delabar looked to end the contest with a clean ninth inning, but walks to Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera set up J.D. Martinez's three-run homer down the left field line. Casey Janssen took over with two outs and struck out Don Kelly on three pitches to post his ninth save.
Drew Hutchison dazzled once again for the Jays, yielding just three hits over seven scoreless frames. Hutchison, who struck out seven Tigers and did not walk a batter, hasn't lost since May 11 and had won three straight starts since then.
The Blue Jays have won 12 of 14, homering 24 times during that stretch.
Anibal Sanchez matched his counterpart, tossing seven two-hit innings for the Tigers in his fourth start since returning from the disabled list. Sanchez has only allowed four earned runs in 27 1/3 innings in his four starts since the DL stint.
Dustin McGowan (3-2) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for Toronto to earn the win.