Sanchez takes mound for Tigers vs Blue Jays

( - Anibal Sanchez will try to extend his recent run of success on the mound Tuesday evening when the Detroit Tigers start up a three- game series with the surging Toronto Blue Jays.

In three starts since missing almost a month of action due to a blister on his right middle finger, Sanchez has given up just four earned runs over 20 1/3 innings while striking out 17. He won the first two outings of that span before getting a no-decision against Oakland on Wednesday.

Sanchez was two outs away from getting a shutout versus the Athletics and had set a season high with nine strikeouts before giving up a double to Coco Crisp in the ninth, the third hit he had allowed in the game.

Manager Brad Ausmus elected to go to his bullpen with Sanchez's pitch count at 111, but the Tigers yielded three runs -- one of which was charged to Sanchez -- to suffer defeat.

The 30-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.49 earned run average on the year and 2-2 lifetime with a 5.48 ERA versus Toronto, which has won 11 of its last 13 games to grab the top spot in the AL East.

The Blue Jays lead the majors in home runs with 82, 19 of those off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.

Encarnacion belted 16 home runs to set a new club record for the month of May, then began the new month by going deep in a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

His late two-run homer padded the lead provided to starter Mark Buehrle, who won his MLB-leading 10th game by holding the Royals to six hits over eight strong innings.

"He was as good as he's been all year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

While Detroit has settled down on the mound a bit, its offense went cold in Sunday's 4-0 setback to the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers have lost six of nine, a span that began with three straight setbacks that saw the club outscored 32-6.

Though the Tigers have given up 22 runs in six games since, they managed only four baserunners on Sunday.

"Today, I just thought we were flat," said Ausmus. "It was just one of those days were we made quick easy outs and didn't put up much of a fight."

The Tigers will try to get things going tonight against Jays starter Drew Hutchison, who is making his first start since May 26.

The 23-year-old righty did not have his best stuff on that day, giving up five runs over five innings. Three of the seven hits he allowed were home runs, but Toronto's offense helped the hurler to a 10-5 win, Hutchison's third straight winning start.

"Nothing was good, nothing was sharp," said Hutchison, who is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA this year.

With the young hurler having been limited to just 10 starts a season ago in the minor leagues as he returned from Tommy John surgery, the Blue Jays opted to push his start back from Saturday against Kansas City to tonight.

That sets up Hutchison to face the Tigers for the first time in his career.

The Tigers have won nine of their past 11 against the Blue Jays.