Blue Jays torch Tigers relievers to avoid back-to-back series sweeps
Toronto racks up 11 hits in 8-4 win to end 3-6 road trip
The Toronto Blue Jays are going to enjoy Monday's day off after all.
Justin Smoak had three hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs to help the Blue Jays end a five-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
"This takes some pressure off all of us," Smoak said. "Every one of us was trying to make the play that ended the streak, but now we can just focus on winning the next game."
Aaron Sanchez (3-5) pitched six innings and ended a five-start winless streak, giving up one run on two hits and three walks while striking out seven.
"I'm not sure what was different, to be honest," he said. "I was aggressive, but I try to do that every game. I guess I was just hitting the strike zone more often."
Michael Fulmer (2-5) allowed four runs on five hits and three walks in six-plus innings, striking out three. Fulmer has a 6.89 ERA in his past six starts.
"I'll be back when I start helping us win some games again," he said. "Sanchez was good today, and I needed to be better."
Pitching duo early on
Sanchez and Fulmer kept the game scoreless through five innings.
Fulmer walked Yangervis Solante with two outs in the sixth, and Smoak hit a 3-2 fastball over the scoreboard in right-centerfield to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
"We knew getting the first runs was going to be big, with the way both Fulmer and Aaron were pitching," Smoak said. "You always know if it going to be tough to get to (Fulmer), because he's got two great pitches with the fastball and slider."
Leonys Martin led off the bottom of the inning with his seventh homer to make it 2-1.
Fulmer gave up a single and a walk to start the seventh, and was replaced by Warwick Saupold.
"I was happy with what I saw," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If we can take that and move forward, we're going to have just what we expected from him."
Devon Travis hit the ball to the wall in right, but Nicholas Castellanos made a leaping catch at the wall. Kevin Pillar took third on the play and scored on Randal Grichuk's double, giving the Blue Jays a two-run lead.
Aledmys Diaz put Toronto ahead by three runs with an RBI single, and Solarte made it 5-1 with a two-out hit. The Blue Jays got a bad break when Smoak's 414-foot double bounced off the centerfield fence - Solarte would have scored easily from first - but Diaz's run gave Toronto a 6-1 lead.
"That's what we really needed," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "We had a bunch of guys step up with big hits, and we were able to hold them off at the end."
Grichuk hit a two-run homer off Zac Reininger in the eighth to make it 8-1. The Tigers scored three runs off three Toronto pitchers in the bottom of the inning, but Ryan Tepara retired five straight batters to end the game.