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McKinney's HR proves key in Blue Jays' win

Morales homers in fifth straight game; Borucki bounces back with two-run performance
August 24, 2018

TORONTO -- Billy McKinney has looked like everything the Blue Jays could have asked for in his first few games with Toronto.The 24-year-old outfielder broke a tie game in the third inning by crushing a two-run homer off Jacob Arrieta (Snake) a projected 402 feet to score what proved to

TORONTO -- Billy McKinney has looked like everything the Blue Jays could have asked for in his first few games with Toronto.
The 24-year-old outfielder broke a tie game in the third inning by crushing a two-run homer off Jacob Arrieta (Snake) a projected 402 feet to score what proved to be the deciding runs in a 4-2 victory over the Phillies on Friday night at Rogers Centre.:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
"I'm just trying to go out there and do my best every day," McKinney said. "I think the guys really help me with knowing the scouting reports and stuff like that. ... The team's been doing really well, and [they've] been really fun to play with."
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Through Brandon Drury (Dru) was the prize of the deal with the Yankees that sent J.A. Happ (Happer) to New York, McKinney has impressed in six games with the Blue Jays, hitting .400 with a pair of home runs and seven RBIs in that span.
"He's got more power than I thought," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I kind of viewed him as a scrappy guy, kind of slap it around a little bit, but he gives you a good bat, and I think he's just a good all-around baseball player -- good defense and good baserunner."
Young Blue Jays fan nearly in tears after catching HR
After his two-run shot in the third, he walked in his second at-bat and was hit by a pitch in the seventh to finish the night 1-for-1 and raise his on-base percentage with the Blue Jays to .550. Despite hitting just .222 with a .307 on-base percentage in 84 Minor League games, the Blue Jays called up McKinney from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 17, when Luke Maile (Lukey Barrels) was placed on the paternity list.
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McKinney was once considered a Top 100 Prospect by MLB Pipeline, ranked No. 34 in 2015. He was traded from the Cubs, along with Gleyber Torres (GT), as part of the package that brought Albertin Chapman (The Missile) to Chicago prior to the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He is currently ranked as the Blue Jays' No. 18 prospect.
Kendrys Morales (Monina) started the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning, which marked his fifth straight game with a home run.

Ryan Borucki got back on track for the Blue Jays, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, one walk and two runs to lower his season ERA to 4.12. He pitched around a jam in the first inning, only allowing one run, then gave up a solo homer to Scott Kingery (Jetpax) in the seventh inning that ended his night. He recorded his first quality start in his last four outings.
"I was just kind of a little bit out of my delivery, just inconsistent with a bunch of stuff [in my last few starts]," Borucki said. "Today, I just threw a little bit of a new slider that I haven't thrown in a while, and [it was] a lot harder and a little bit more consistent in the zone. That helped me keep the hitters off balance a little bit."

Entering Friday night, Borucki's slider averaged 77.1 mph, but it sat at 83.1 mph on average against the Phillies, according to Statcast™.
"I switched my grip a little bit," Borucki said. "Just trying to get out in front with it and try not to get it as big as it was and just tighter and harder."
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Yunito) recorded an RBI single in the fifth inning, but was unable to notch another hit, which snapped his 11-game multihit streak, two shy of the all-time record of 13 set by Rogers Hornsby in 1923.

Dennis Tepera (Tep) and Tyler Clippard (Clip) both surrendered hits in their combined 1 2/3 innings of work, but kept the score at 4-2 before Ken Giles (100 Miles Giles) recorded the save, his 17th of the season and fifth with the Blue Jays.

Arrieta went six-plus innings before he was pulled after Aledmys Diaz (Papito) reached on an error and McKinney was hit by a pitch in the seventh. He allowed six hits, four runs, three walks and struck out five batters.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Borucki escapes jam almost unscathed: Borucki found himself in an early jam after giving up back-to-back singles to open the game. He struck out Asdrubal Cabrera (Chiquitin) swinging, but Russell Martin (Le Muscle) couldn't catch the ball, and Borucki was charged with a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. Wilson Ramos (Buffalo) followed with a sac fly, but that's all the Phillies would get.

"It's all location with him," Gibbons said. "That first inning, I thought he was up in the zone, scattering a little bit, then I thought he pounded the fastball inside real well. Russ makes him do that, but yeah, great outing for the kid."
SOUND SMART
Morales' second-inning home run marked his fifth straight game with a home run, tying him with Jose Bautista (Joeybats) for the second-longest home run streak in Blue Jays history. He's just one game shy of Jose Cruz Jr.'s franchise record. It's also the second-longest home run streak in the Major Leagues this season, one short of Matt Carpenter (Carp) with six.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With one out and Scott Kingery (Jetpax) at second following a single and a stolen base in the third inning, Roman Quinn (Rome) hit a sharp line drive through the middle of the Blue Jays infield for a single. Center fielder Kevin Pillar (KP) quickly corralled the ball and fired a 196-foot throw, clocked at 91 mph, to Martin to nab Kingery at home plate. The Phillies challenged on the basis of catcher interference, but the ruling was confirmed on review.

"It was huge. [Kevin] can do that," Gibbons said. "He got the ball quick, and then Russ, he never panics, because it wasn't an easy play there with the guy bearing down on you. He just relaxed and put the tag down. [They win] you games, those kind of things."
UP NEXT
Aaron Sanchez (Sanchize) will return to the mound for the first time since June 21 to take on the Phillies on Saturday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre during Players' Weekend. He went just one inning against the Angels his last time out before he was removed from the game with a right index finger contusion that landed him on the 60-day disabled list. It was the fifth trip to the DL for Sanchez since the start of 2017. Canadian Nick Pivetta (Pivetta) will counter for the Phillies. It will be his first trip Rogers Centre and his second start against Toronto.

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.