Trio of solo blasts power Blue Jays past Tigers

Trio of solo blasts power Blue Jays past Tigers

TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista hit solo shots to power the Blue Jays to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in the series opener at Rogers Centre on Friday.

Tulowitzki and Donaldson went back-to-back in the third to break a 1-1 tie before Bautista put Toronto ahead, 5-1, in the fifth with his 10th homer of August. Ian Kinsler homered in the first before former Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose went deep with a two-run shot in the seventh, but Toronto's bullpen came on and locked it down over the final 2 2/3 innings to secure the win. Roberto Osuna recorded his 16th save as he struck out the side in the ninth.

"Pitching and defense have been very big for us lately," Donaldson said. "You have to have that in order to win games consistently." More >

Osuna notches the save

R.A. Dickey rebounded from Kinsler's solo shot in the first frame to record his 16th quality start of the season. The 40-year-old knuckleballer cruised through the middle innings, retiring 12 in a row and 14 of 17 batters before giving up a two-run homer to Gose in the seventh. He lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs with six strikeouts. Tigers starter Matt Boyd was saddled with the loss after throwing six innings and giving up five earned runs. Boyd, who came to the Tigers from the Blue Jays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline as a part of a package for David Price, has given up eight homers in three career starts at Rogers Centre. More >

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Goin' deep: The Blue Jays powered up for three solo homers, punctuated by Tulowitzki and Donaldson going back-to-back with solo blasts in the third. Donaldson's moonshot left his bat at 110 mph and was projected to travel 454 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the eighth time this season Toronto has gone back-to-back. Bautista later went yard, giving the Blue Jays at least three homers in a game for the 19th time this season.

Tulo, Donaldson go back-to-back

"I knew I hit it well. I didn't know if it was gonna stay fair or not," Donaldson said of his towering blast. More >

Kinsler continues to crush: Kinsler entered Friday leading the league in hits since the All-Star break and slugging .600 in August, in part because he has been pulling the ball nearly 60 percent of the time this month compared to 46 percent through July. He continued that trend when he jumped the first knuckleball he saw from Dickey and pulled it over the left-field wall for his ninth homer of the year, building a short-lived 1-0 lead.

"Since the start of July, he's been our most consistent hitter, especially with Miggy [Cabrera] out [for six weeks]," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Probably one of the most consistent offensive players in the league, quite frankly."

Encarnacion still streaking: Edwin Encarnacion continued his Major League-best hitting streak, extending it to 23 games with his RBI double in the first inning. It's the fifth-longest streak in club history, the longest in the Majors this season and the longest by an American League player since Robinson Cano hit safely in 23 straight in 2012.

Encarnacion's RBI double

Gose deep at old home: Gose hit four home runs over 105 games at Rogers Centre during his three seasons with the Blue Jays. He has homered only once at Comerica Park this year, but he matched that total at his old home when he lofted Dickey's final pitch deep to right. Gose's fourth homer of the year turned what looked like a runaway into a two-run game in the seventh. More >

Gose's two-run homer

QUOTABLE
"I really don't notice it until I'm walking off the field, or I'm watching somebody else throw to be honest. They're fantastic. To hear them in the ninth … it's special, and you don't take it for granted." -- Dickey, on hearing the roaring crowd when he came out of the game

"That's definitely one of the biggest shots I've seen here. I've seen one go a little higher than that one, but none further." -- Tigers left fielder and former Blue Jay Rajai Davis, on Donaldson's home run

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cabrera needs four plate appearances Saturday to qualify in the American League batting race. He went 1-for-4 on Friday night to drop his average to .366, still about 40 points higher than the top average among qualifying AL players.

BLUE JAYS ROSTER MOVE
Toronto optioned catcher Josh Thole to its Rookie League affiliate after the game. Thole, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo last week to catch Dickey in order to give Russell Martin extra rest, is heading to Bluefield because the team's season is over Sept. 2, at which point the Blue Jays can bring him back.

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Buck Farmer, who took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning and a shutout bid into the sixth in his last start before giving up three runs in a 10-run inning, will try to build off of it when he takes the mound at 1:07 p.m. ET in the middle game of the series.

Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison will be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make the start for Toronto at 1:07 p.m. ET. The right-hander was optioned to the Bisons ahead of the Blue Jays' recent road trip, when they opted to go with a four-man rotation.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.