Tigers-Blue Jays Preview

Odd doesn't begin to describe Drew Hutchison's season.

The Toronto Blue Jays' right-hander has career highs in wins and ERA, but that and the second-highest winning percentage in the major leagues couldn't keep him from a recent demotion to Triple-A Buffalo.

Hutchison, though, has been at his best at home, and he'll try to win a fourth straight start there Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.

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Hutchison (12-2, 5.06 ERA) was sent to the minors last week despite allowing one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 win over the New York Yankees, improving to 10-1 with a 2.57 ERA at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays (72-56) briefly went with a four-man rotation due to a trio of off days during an eight-game road trip.

Hutchison returns for a nine-game homestand that started with a 5-3 victory over the Tigers on Friday, keeping the Blue Jays' AL East lead at 1 1/2 games over the Yankees.

Toronto has a 17-7 record in Hutchison's starts, due in large part to his major league-best run support average of 7.72. The Blue Jays have averaged 8.0 runs in their last nine games - winning seven - and are 22-5 in the past 27.

''That place was rocking,'' said Donaldson, tops in the majors with the majors with 102 RBIs. ''That's the loudest I've heard it. It's exciting to be a part of this team right now.''

Jose Bautista has batted .476 in his last six games and hit a solo home run Friday. Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson added solo homers and Edwin Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 23 games with an RBI double.

''They're excited in Toronto,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''They should be.''

Tulowitzki and Donaldson went back-to-back with their homers in the third inning, the eighth time this season the Blue Jays have hit consecutive home runs.

"That's what we expect coming in here every day," Donaldson told MLB's official website. "Not necessarily hitting home runs, but coming in and having competitive at-bats."

Hutchison will be making his sixth straight start in Toronto. One of his numerous poor road outings came July 3, when he gave up seven runs - five earned - and 10 runs in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to Detroit.

Victor Martinez went 3 for 4 in that game and Miguel Cabrera had two hits before exiting with a strained left calf that put him on the shelf for more than a month.

The Tigers (60-68) are trying to avoid their third straight loss and eighth in nine, and they'll try to get Buck Farmer his first big-league win.

Farmer (0-2, 7.80) receives his second straight start with Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris on the disabled list. All four of the right-hander's starts have come on the road, where's he 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA.

Farmer appeared primed to earn a victory Monday, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning and a shutout into the sixth against Cincinnati. However, he was chased in that inning as the Reds scored 10 runs and went on to a 12-5 win.

He was charged with three runs and pitched 5 1-3 innings, matching his career high.

"I think he hit a little bit of wall when the inning started," Ausmus said. "And then everything blew up."