TORONTO -- It has been a long time since Max Scherzer lost a start.
After becoming the first pitcher to go 13-0 to open a season since 1986 on Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers right-hander has gone 18 starts without losing.
His last defeat occurred Sept. 23, 2012.
Scherzer held the Toronto Blue Jays to seven hits and two runs over 6 1/3 innings to lead the Tigers to a 6-2 win.
Alex Avila hit a three-run homer and Victor Martinez added a solo shot and an RBI single for the Tigers, who scored five unearned runs before a crowd of 28,958 at Rogers Centre.
The victory assured the Tigers (45-38) of at least a split in the four-game series against the Blue Jays (41-43).
Scherzer entered the game as the first starting pitcher in Tigers history to win his first 12 decisions of the season.
He is the first starting pitcher to win at least 13 consecutive decisions to open a season since Roger Clemens started the 1986 season 14-0 for the Boston Red Sox.
"They hit some balls hard, but I was able to keep it on the ground and keep them to singles and minimize the damage," Scherzer said.
Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said, "We're confident when he's on the mound, and we're excited to see him get this 13th win."
Scherzer struck out eight before leaving for reliever Bruce Rondon with one out and one runner on base in the seventh. He has struck out at least six in each of his 17 starts this season.
"A little erratic with control, but he was still really good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It might not have been vintage Max, but he was really good, good enough to get the win and good enough to get us a win."
Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson (1-3) allowed seven hits and six runs (one earned) over five innings. He committed two of the three Toronto errors.
The benches cleared in the sixth after Hunter was hit on the left shoulder with a pitch by reliever Todd Redmond, who had just been promoted from Triple-A Buffalo. Order was quickly restored.
Hunter said his reaction had more to do with a slide into second by Colby Rasmus on a force play in the fourth inning that put second baseman Omar Infante out of the game with a bruised left shin.
"Trust me, it's nothing against Redmond," Hunter said. "It was all Rasmus sliding late with his spikes up. There's no way you're going to turn a double play there with Rajai Davis running and the score 5-0. I was just mad. It hurt, first of all, and he came up and in, and then they took out my second baseman. I just vented."
Redmond allowed one hit in three innings, and Toronto manager John Gibbons said that Redmond would make a start Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.
Singles by Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Rasmus and Maicer Izturis in the sixth cut Detroit's lead to 6-2.
Left-hander Drew Smyly pitched the eighth and right-hander Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for Detroit.
Aided by an error, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead in the second. Prince Fielder led off with sharply hit infield single back to Johnson. Martinez hit a made-to-order double-play grounder that went between the legs of second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. Jhonny Peralta followed by lining an RBI single to center.
With two outs, Avila hit his sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot on a 3-2 pitch. The four runs were unearned.
"It's great to see Alex hit a bomb in that situation," Scherzer said. "Both nights since he's been back (from the disabled list), he's gone (opposite field) with power, and that's something that you always like to see."
Johnson said, "Not really a great pitch. He did a pretty good piece of hitting, took it the other way. I feel good, really good, that's the frustrating thing."
Gibbons added, "If we turn the double play -- it's a tailor-made double-play ball -- you never know how the game is going to shape up. I don't think he was as bad as the line's going to look to be honest with you."
Johnson said, "I've got to pick up my teammates. Things like that are going to happen. I have to make better pitches and get outs and get outs quicker. I've got to find ways to get outs, make better pitches and not throw so many pitches."
The Tigers scored their fifth unearned run of the game in the third when Johnson was charged with two errors. Hunter reached first on Johnson's first error, and Miguel Cabrera walked. Martinez lined an RBI single to center. Johnson made his second error on Andy Dirks' grounder, but Bautista ran down Infante's drive in right-center for the third out.
Martinez led off the fifth with his seventh homer of the season to increase Detroit's lead to 6-0.
NOTES: Leyland said that Infante would not play in Thursday's game. Ramon Santiago took over at second base after Rasmus slid into Infante. ... Blue Jays DH Adam Lind (back) played for the first time since coming out of Sunday's game in Boston after two innings. ... Toronto C J.P. Arencibia (shoulder) was behind the plate after missing Tuesday's game. ... Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion (hamstring) did not start for the third consecutive game. ... Rock star Alice Cooper threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Tigers INF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo (intercostal strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, and he reached base in each of his first three plate appearances. ... Cabrera (tight back) played after he was a game-time decision, but Leyland said he would not play Thursday. ... RHP Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.77 ERA) will start the series finale for the Tigers against Toronto RHP Esmil Rogers (3-3, 3.12 ERA).