DETROIT — Turns out the Toronto Blue Jays got a break by facing Justin Verlander.
Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak homered in a six-run fifth inning against the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP, leading the Toronto Blue Jays over the Detroit Tigers 10-5 Sunday.
Toronto stopped a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in seven games.
"We definitely needed this one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We’ve had to go against (Anibal) Sanchez and (David) Price the last two nights, and we’ve got (Chris) Sale tomorrow, so we needed a game where the offence could get things going."
Marco Estrada (6-4) improved to 5-1 in his last seven starts, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings. Roberto Osuna got four outs for his third save.
"It is always great to get a win, but today was even better because it is my birthday," said Estrada, who turned 32. "The guys got me a nice present by putting up 10 runs."
Verlander (0-2) gave up seven hits and two walks in five innings, striking out five. He needed 94 pitches to get 15 outs. He now has a 6.75 ERA in four starts after missing the first several weeks of the season with a triceps injury.
"I was seeing reactions that I haven’t seen for a while on my off-speed pitches, and that felt good," Verlander said. "It is a shame that I fell out of sync in the fifth, but this is only my fourth start. You have to keep that in mind."
Toronto went ahead after seven pitches when Jose Reyes led off with a bloop double and scored on Josh Donaldson’s single. Verlander’s error on an errant pickoff attempt allowing Donaldson to take third, but pitched out of the jam.
"I think that was huge for us," Donaldson said. "We got the quick run, and then Marco and the defence kept putting up zeroes, so the momentum kept building. We knew it would break out eventually."
Verlander didn’t allow another hit until the fifth, helped by a spectacular play by Jose Iglesias that ended the fourth. The shortstop ranged into the hole and threw to second for a forceout.
Danny Valencia walked leading off the fifth after being down 0-2 in the count, Kevin Pillar singled and Devon Travis hit an RBI double. Reyes’ groundout made it 3-0 and moved Travis to third, and Donaldson singled through a drawn-in infield. Bautista followed with a two-run homer over the Tigers bullpen in left and, four pitches later, Smoak homered to right for a 7-0 lead.
"There are two ways you can look at this," Verlander said. "You can look at the fifth inning and think negatively, or you can look at the rest of it and think positively."
Blue Jays: LHP Felix Doubront, who spent much of the first half of the season recovering from a shoulder injury, could fill the vacant spot in Toronto’s rotation Tuesday in Chicago. Doubront was called up on Friday, and came through a 2 1/3-inning relief outing that night without problems.
Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle (9-4) starts Monday at his old team, the Chicago White Sox, and faces former protege Chris Sale (6-4). It will be the first meeting between the pair since Buehrle left Chicago after the 2011 season.