Whit Merrifield and Alek Manoah lead the Blue Jays to a 12-2 victory over the Tigers

DETROIT (AP) — Whit Merrifield homered and drove in four runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 12-2 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.

Toronto improved to 15-5 against American League Central teams, while the Tigers fell to 2-15 against the AL East.

George Springer added a home run and three RBIs for Toronto, which sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run fourth and 11 in a five-run ninth. Kevin Kiermaier had four hits.

“The offense was great tonight,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “George got us started with the big homer early and Whit capped it off at the end.”.

Alek Manoah (2-7) won for the first time since April 5, allowing one run on five hits in six innings. Manoah, whose 11-start winless streak started April 11 against the Tigers, struck out eight without walking a batter.

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“I’ve been waiting for this outing for a long time,” said Manoah, who started for Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday in an attempt to fix his control issues. “This feels great. I’m excited about the strides I’ve made over the last month and I’m looking forward to building off them.”.

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Manoah threw 19 first-pitch strikes to 23 batters — a career-high 82.6%.

“This is what we saw when he was working in Florida and New Hampshire,” Schneider said. “I’m really proud of the way he has handled this and the work he has put in to get back here.”.

Alex Faedo (1-5) took the loss in his first start since June 2. He allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his return from a finger injury.

“I thought there were a lot of pros and cons,” Faedo said. “I thought the first three innings went good, but then the fourth inning happened. I have to be able to contain the damage when I get into an inning like that.”.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the third. Kiermaier singled with two out and Springer followed with an RBI double.

Spencer Torkelson’s RBI single tied it in the bottom of the third, but the Blue Jays scored six times in the fourth.

Toronto loaded the bases on a single and two walks, and Merrifield made it 2-1 with an RBI single. Varsho popped out, but Danny Jansen hit a two-run double.

Keirmaier’s groundout gave the Blue Jays a four-run lead and Springer’s home run increased made it 7-1.

“I think I might have pitched the same way the second time through the order,” Faedo said. “I’m going to look at the video and see if I need to work on that.”.

Matt Vierling’s third single pulled Detroit to 7-2 in the eighth, but Merrifield’s three-run homer capped a five-run ninth. Tigers utility infielder Zack Short got the final three outs without allowing a run.

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“They had a good approach and we didn’t respond,” Javier Báez said. “We have to keep the game close.”.

TRAINER’S ROOM.

Blue Jays: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (elbow) is scheduled to make a rehab start in the Florida State League on Sunday. He’s expected to throw 3-4 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Tigers: CF Riley Greene (leg) is expected to be activated for Saturday’s game. Greene has been sidelined since May 31 as he recovers from a stress reaction in his left leg.

SPLIT CROWD.

The game drew 30,029 fans — the third-biggest home crowd of the season — and Blue Jays jerseys easily outnumbered Tigers jerseys in the stands.

UP NEXT.

The teams play the second game of the weekend series Saturday, with Detroit’s RHP Matt Manning (2-1, 4.84) facing RHP Kevin Gausman (7-4, 3.04).

AP MLB: https://apnews.Com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.Com/AP_Sports.