TORONTO - Jeff Mathis’ three-run double keyed a four-run fourth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 8-3 Friday to open a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Carlos Villanueva went five innings for the win and improves to 6-0.
Mathis, who is catching in place of the injured J.P. Arencibia (fractured right hand), extended his hit streak to eight games with the bases-loaded two-out double against Rick Porcello. He also gave the Jays a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Travis Snider hit a two-run home run in the eighth against Duane Below to put the game out of reach. It was Snider's third homer since being recalled from triple-A Las Vegas on July 20.
It was the second win in a row for the Blue Jays (50-49) and the second loss in a row for the Tigers (53-47), who are second in the AL Central.
Villanueva gave up first-inning homers to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder but did not give up another run in his five innings to win his fourth consecutive start.
After allowing four hits, two walks and two runs while striking out three, Villaneuva is 4-0 with a 2.54 earned-run average in his five starts this season.
Porcello (7-6) allowed six hits, two walks and five runs and struck out one in six innings.
In the top of the first, the Tigers struck quickly in a three-pitch span with two out as Cabrera and Fielder homered for a 2-0 lead. It was the 25th of the season for Cabrera and the 16th for Fielder.
The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom of the frame when Omar Vizquel doubled with one out and Edwin Encarnacion singled with two out.
With the game still tied in the fourth, the Blue Jays rallied for four runs. Colby Rasmus led off with a single. He appeared to slide into second base safely on Encarnacion's grounder to short but was called out on the force.
Kelly Johnson walked with one out and Snider did the same with two out to fill the bases. Mathis sent everyone home with a double just beyond the reach of left-fielder Quintin Berry.
Anthony Gose singled on a grounder to first that Fielder couldn't handle and Mathis scored.
Canadian Brett Lawrie and Vizquel hit consecutive triples against Octavio Dotel to extend the Blue Jays lead in the seventh.
Blue Jays relievers Aaron Loup and Brandon Lyon held the Tigers through the seventh. But Cabrera led off with eighth with a double against left-hander Darren Oliver and slid safely home on a single to centre by Fielder. Blue Jays manager John Farrell argued the call at the plate.
Oliver retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts.
Snider’s eighth-inning home run came after Tigers second baseman Omar Infante was charged with an error on a grounder by Yan Gomes.
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for Toronto.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 33,962... Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar were both scratched from Friday’s game with back tightness. Escobar missed his third consecutive game. ...Drew Hutchison played catch on Friday, making 30 throws from 45 feet. He had not thrown since June 15 when he came out of his start with a sprained elbow ligament.