Donaldson has perfect finish to epic night
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson had a game for the ages on Tuesday night, and a walk-off homer off of David Robertson was just one of the many reasons this performance won't be forgotten any time soon.
Donaldson went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with two homers, four RBIs, five runs scored, and a walk in Toronto's 10-9 victory against the White Sox. He became the first player in franchise history to record at least four hits, four RBIs and five runs scored in a single game.
The night looks even more impressive when the rest of Major League Baseball is factored into the equation. Donaldson became the 12th player since at least 1914 to go 4-for-4 at the plate with at least four RBIs and five runs scored.
The final swing for Donaldson on Tuesday night also was the sweetest. Donaldson sent a 1-1 fastball from Chicago closer Robertson over the wall in right field for the fifth walk-off homer of his career.
"I definitely feel like I focus a little bit more," Donaldson said of his success in late innings. "The approach kind of hones in and so far in my career I've been fortunate. That's probably one of the better feelings in baseball, to hit a walk-off homer. You don't get the opportunity very often and when you're able to do it, it definitely feels rewarding."
Toronto entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 9-7 and things looked bleak with Robertson on the mound for Chicago. Robertson not only has become one of the top closers in baseball, but he's also enjoyed plenty of success against the Blue Jays with a 2.75 ERA and nine saves over 55 2/3 career innings.
That didn't bode well for Toronto, but there was a glimmer of hope when Josh Thole led off with a single and Jose Reyes followed with a double to right. That put runners on second and third with nobody out and the heart of Toronto's batting order coming to the plate.
Chicago could have opted to pitch around Donaldson, but with Jose Bautista on deck that wasn't exactly a viable solution. That opened the door for Donaldson and he came through by sending a 1-1 fastball from Robertson to the opposite field for his second homer of the game and third in two days.
The crowd of 17,276 erupted as Donaldson rounded the bases. It was the second time this year Toronto enjoyed a walk-off win, and the other one also came on a homer by Donaldson in a win over the Braves on April 18.
"It's so hard to do, it's so hard to come through with walk-off hits, those are rare," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I think some guys thrive for that moment and he has that mindset. He's one of those guys, I think he wants to be the guy, the hero, and he has done it many times."
The Blue Jays couldn't have asked for a better start to Donaldson's tenure in Toronto. His four hits on Tuesday night raised his average to .315 with a .960 OPS. He's tied with Edwin Encarnacion for the team lead in home runs (12) and his 33 RBIs are more than anyone else on the roster.
Donaldson has a reputation of being an intense player and that passion was visible after his home run. But by the time reporters had a chance to talk with him after the game he was almost subdued. After all, Donaldson's been around long enough to know he needs to keep things in perspective.
"In baseball you never want to get too high and you never want to get too low," Donaldson said. "So it's one of those things where you enjoy the moment, enjoy the win and tomorrow's a new day. Baseball's a game that can humble you real quick, I think it was just three games ago that I punched out four times in a game. This isn't a league where you enjoy too much because you can be humbled real quick."