The hats were thrown on the field by Blue Jays fans - the traditional hockey tribute when a player scores three goals - after Encarnacion hit his third home run of the game and third grand slam of the season in the seventh inning.
The three home runs gave him nine RBIs, equaling the club record set in 1977 by third baseman Roy Howell against the New York Yankees. He also extended his hitting streak to 24 games - the longest active streak in the majors.
Encarnacion admitted he did not know what the hat throwing meant until reserve catcher Dioner Navarro explained it. "Navarro told me after they threw all the hats to the field, he told me when they score three goals, I think they do that," Encarnacion said. "It made me feel happy. I'm maybe going to sign them and give them back to their owners for appreciation for throwing them on the field."
When he came to bat against right-hander Alex Wilson, the designated hitter said he wasn't thinking about belting a third home run.
"I was never thinking about that, I was just thinking about taking a good AB and looking for my pitch," Encarnacion said. "It was a fastball, outside. It's right on the middle, good swing."
"He's been hot," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was hot before we got here and he certainly hasn't cooled off."
Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison (13-2) allowed six hits and one run while striking out seven over seven innings to earn his fifth straight victory.
"The fans throwing the hats on the field was probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen," Hutchison said. "That was unbelievable. That was just fun to be a part of."
"I hadn't seen it before," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Don't they normally throw octopuses or something? At first I thought it was just a couple idiots throwing their hats, and then when everybody came down somebody said, 'It's for the hat trick.' Maybe it was (pitching coach) Pete Walker, and it changed my judgment."
The Blue Jays (73-56) entered Saturday with a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the American League East.
Catcher Russell Martin also homered for Toronto and left fielder Ben Revere matched a career high with four hits. Second baseman Ryan Goins and third baseman Josh Donaldson each added three hits for the Blue Jays, who have won the first two contests of the three-game series.
"That was definitely embarrassing," Ausmus said. "No question about it. It happens. Every team experiences games like that over the course of the year. The only good news is it finally ended. We talked about taking the crowd out of it. The crowd suddenly became more into it."
Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer (0-3) allowed six runs (five earned), eight hits and two walks in four innings.
"This one sticks with you," said Wilson, who entered in the seventh to face Encarnacion after left-hander Tom Gorzelanny loaded the bases. "Any time the game goes the way it did today and you just get beat in every aspect of the game. That one, it hurts."
Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the first. The Blue Jays added a run in the second on a double by Revere and a single by Goins.
The Tigers (60-69) got one run back in the third. Shortstop Jose Iglesias led off with a single and took third when right fielder Jose Bautista lost a fly ball by left fielder Rajai Davis in the sun as it dropped in for a single. Iglesias scored on a groundout by second baseman Ian Kinsler.
The Blue Jays regained their four-run lead in the third. Encarnacion reached second when his fly ball bounced off the glove of right fielder Tyler Collins for an error and scored on Revere's single.
Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose thought there were three outs when he caught Donaldson's deep sacrifice fly in the fourth, allowing Gose to score from second.
Encarnacion hit his second homer with two outs and one on in the three-run sixth against right-hander Guido Knudson.
Encarnacion's third homer was his 29th of the season. Martin hit his 16th homer with one on in the six-run seventh.
NOTES: The Blue Jays have a 20-5 record in August, a winning percentage of .800. The highest win percentage for a full month in franchise history was .760 in May, 1984, when the Blue Jays were 19-6. ... RHP Drew Hutchison was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make the start Saturday and C Josh Thole was optioned to rookie-level Bluefield after the game on Friday. ... Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer of Double-A Erie was named Eastern League pitcher of the year after going 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 20 starts. ... Tigers RF J.D Martinez was 0-for-4 Friday in the 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays to end a seven-game hitting streak. He batted .357 (10-for-28) on the streak. ... RHP Alfredo Simon (11-8, 4.89 ERA) will start Sunday for the Tigers in the series finale against Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle (13-6, 3.60 ERA).