Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays got off to a good start in their first game after the All-Star break. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
DETROIT -- Jose Bautista drove in two runs and Aaron Sanchez allowed one unearned run in six innings Friday night to help the Toronto Blue Jays get a 10-game post-All-Star break trip off to a successful start with a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Sanchez (1-2) was making only his seventh start of the season because of a blister on his right middle finger. He allowed a double and six singles in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Toronto sealed it in the eighth inning with three runs, one when Russell Martin drew a four-pitch, two-out walk from reliever Blaine Hardy and two more when Josh Donaldson lined a 3-2 single to left. That put the Blue Jays up 7-1.
Andrew Romine hit his fourth home run of the season for the Tigers with one out in the ninth off reliever Jeff Beliveau to wrap up the scoring.
Danny Barnes gave up one hit in the seventh, Joe Biagini got three outs in the eighth and Beliveau finished the ninth for the Blue Jays.
Bautista greeted Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold in the seventh inning with his 15th home run of the season, upping the Blue Jays' lead to 4-1.
Kevin Pillar drew a sixth-inning walk on a full count pitch from Detroit reliever Shane Greene with the bases loaded to increase the Toronto lead to 3-1.
The Tigers put runners at first and third with nobody out in their fifth thanks to singles by Jose Iglesias and Alex Presley, but the Blue Jays escaped by giving up only one unearned run thanks to Miguel Cabrera hitting into an inning-ending double play.
The run scored when Donaldson caught Alex Avila's line drive to third but then threw the ball wildly to first for an error that let both runners move up, shaving Toronto's lead to 2-1.
Steve Pearce hit a 2-0 fastball from Justin Verlander (5-7), who was the losing pitcher, leading off the Blue Jays' fifth for his seventh home run of the season, breaking a scoreless tie.
Pillar reached second when J.D. Martinez dropped his fly ball near the foul line for an error, advanced on a groundout to short and scored an unearned run on Bautista's first-pitch sacrifice fly to center, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.
Verlander threw 114 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, running up 2-2 counts on seven batters and 3-2 on six. He struck out five, and two of his three walks came to the last two batters he faced.
Detroit is 7-15 in its last 22 games to fall to 10 games below for the season and increase the likelihood it will be a seller by the time the non-waiver trade deadline is reached July 31.
NOTES: The Blue Jays have tabbed LHP Francisco Liriano and RHP Marco Estrada to work the Saturday/Sunday games. ... Tigers LHP Daniel Norris is eligible to come off the disabled list (groin) on Tuesday, but whether he will start or not is up in the air, according to manager Brad Ausmus. ... Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler reported from the All-Star break with the flu and was not in the starting lineup. ... Toronto had its fewest wins at the All-Star break (41) since 2004. Detroit was at its lowest win total (39) since 2003.