Toronto Blue Jays catcher Yan Gomes, left, and pitcher J.A. Happ celebrate 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers during MLB action in Toronto Saturday July 28, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
TORONTO - Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar and Colby Rasmus all homered while Henderson Alvarez went seven solid innings as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto (51-49) belted out 10 hits to earn its second straight win over Detroit (53-48) and clinch the three-game series before a sun-drenched gathering of 41,832 with the roof at Rogers Centre rolled back. The two teams will close things out Sunday afternoon.
The Blue Jays had just one homer in their series-opening 8-3 win over Detroit on Friday night.
Alvarez (7-7) surrendered a run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks for the win. He had some help with Travis Snider's fine diving catch off Prince Fielder with one on in the first but also helped start a double play in the third. Alvarez also finished with three hitless innings.
Alvarez was aided by four Toronto homers in his last win, a 15-7 decision over Boston on July 22 that saw him allow seven runs over 5 2-3 innings. He was sharper Saturday but still was helped by the three Jays' homers, including Rasmus' two-run shot in the seventh that ended Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez's day.
Sanchez (5-8) allowed five runs and eight hits over six plus innings with three walks and three strikeouts before giving way to right-hander Bryan Villarreal. Villarreal had his problems, allowing a single to Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., and walking Encarnacion before Travis Snider flew out, Encarnacion was caught stealing and Escobar grounded out.
Left-hander J.A Harp worked the final two innings for Toronto.
Alvarez got himself into a jam in the sixth by issuing one-out walks to Miguel Cabera and Fielder but ended the threat by getting Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch to both fly out. Escobar then led off the bottom of the inning with a solo homer, his seventh of the season to give Toronto a 3-1 advantage.
Encarnacion's solo shot, his 28th of the season to lead off the fourth, put Toronto ahead 2-1
Detroit made it 1-1 in the top of the inning on Boesch's two-out double that scored Young, who had singled.
Rasmus opened the scoring in the third, his sacrifice fly bringing home Anthony Gose, who had singled.
Notes: With his first-inning double, Lawrie extended his hit streak to seven straight games. ... Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil (2-3, 5.82 earned-run average) takes on Detroit right-hander Doug Fister (4-7, 4.03 ERA) in the series finale Sunday. Left-hander Ricky Romero (8-7, 5.75 ERA) will open Toronto's road series at Seattle on Monday night. ... Detroit is in the midst of a nine-game road trip that will conclude with a three-game series in Boston starting Monday night. ... Prior to Saturday's game, Toronto had scored a major league-leading 496 runs.