Lou Whitaker and Nelson Simmons homered and Kirk Gibson drove in three runs as Detroit beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-3, giving the Tigers a split of the four-game series yesterday in Toronto.

"We're still around," said Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson, whose club trails first-place Toronto by 6 1/2 games in the American League East. "We're not threatening, but we're still existing. A lot can happen the rest of the way, but right now we're not part of it. We're just going to zip up our mouths and play."

Detroit took advantage of a 34-mph wind blowing out. "You have to take advantage of whatever the conditions are and, if you were a left-handed hitter today, obviously you wanted to get the ball up to right," Whitaker said. "I'd been struggling for the last two weeks or so, and it was nice to start hitting here."

Detroit broke open the game by scoring four runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-2 lead. Loser Jim Clancy (2-3) gave up a leadoff single to Simmons and was replaced by Dennis Lamp. Chet Lemon doubled Simmons to third, and with two outs, Whitaker was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Alan Trammell singled home two runs and Gibson hit a two-run triple.

Whitaker, Trammell and Gibson -- the Tigers' 1-2-3 hitters in the order -- combined for only two hits, one run and one RBI in the first two games against Toronto. In Detroit's two wins, they had 17 hits, 12 runs and 13 RBI.

Doug Bair (1-0) earned the victory in his second start of the season. Willie Hernandez pitched the final two innings.

A crowd of 40,273 brought the series total to 163,596, an Exhibition Stadium record for four games.