Donaldson joins rare company to end 1st half

July 10th, 2016

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has been Mr. Consistent since joining the Blue Jays, and the reigning American League MVP Award winner capped off his first half by adding another historic accolade to his collection in Toronto's 6-1 victory over Detroit on Sunday.

Donaldson cranked his 23rd home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning, becoming just the sixth player in AL history to record 20 home runs and 80 runs scored before the break. The 30-year-old joined an elite class which includes Lou Gehrig (1936), Ted Williams ('46), Reggie Jackson ('69), Frank Thomas ('94) and Alex Rodriguez (2000).

Settling into the No. 2 spot in the order for the Blue Jays, Donaldson has more than held his own on the basepaths this season, showing an ability to read pitchers and outfielders, while taking advantage of the additional thunder behind him in the lineup. Donaldson -- who enters the break leading all Major Leaguers in runs scored -- also became the first player to score 80 runs before the All-Star break since Ian Kinsler and Hanley Ramirez accomplished the feat in 2008.

"I think 80 runs has something to do with the guys behind me driving me in," Donaldson said. "The fact of the matter is I feel like I do a pretty decent job on the bases, taking the extra base, stealing a bag every now and then. That doesn't necessarily always lead to 80 runs. Edwin Encarnacion's hit some homers, Michael Saunders has hit some homers, Jose Bautista was behind me hitting some homers. I was on base a decent amount in the first half, so I guess that helps with the success of that."

Donaldson finished his afternoon against the Tigers 2-for-4, with his three-run home run opening up a 5-0 Blue Jays lead. The Pensacola, Fla., native heads to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) having reached base in 19 consecutive games, and the third baseman's second consecutive impressive season has helped the Blue Jays win 18 of their past 25 games to climb to within two games of the Orioles atop the AL East.

Donaldson was quick to pass along the praise to the rest of his teammates. Last year's edition of the Blue Jays limped into the break with a 45-46 record, while this year's team sits at 51-40, the most wins for the franchise at the All-Star break since the World Series-winning team in '92.

"We've pitched well, we've got the timely hits and we've played really good defense," Donaldson said. "I feel like it's just one of those things, for the better part of a year, we've been able to complete that formula most of the time. That's why we have a better record than we did last year."