TORONTO -- The Blue Jays might not be the offensive powerhouse they were a couple of years ago, but this is still a team that will have breakout moments and one that intends on using the home run to its advantage.Toronto's first big offensive eruption of the season came Tuesday
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays might not be the offensive powerhouse they were a couple of years ago, but this is still a team that will have breakout moments and one that intends on using the home run to its advantage.
Toronto's first big offensive eruption of the season came Tuesday night at Rogers Centre with a 14-5 victory over the White Sox. Josh Donaldson and Aledmys Diaz each homered and the Blue Jays scored seven runs in the eighth inning to completely put the game out of reach en route to a fourth consecutive win.
The Blue Jays have homered in their first six games to start a season for the fourth time in franchise history. Toronto also opened the 1980 and 2000 seasons with home runs in six straight; the club record was nine games set in 1994. Of the Blue Jays' 29 runs this season, 17 of them have come via the long ball. It's the pair of Donaldson and Diaz who lead the way with two each.
"We have guys in the lineup who can hit home runs … we can spread them out through the lineup pretty good," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team has seven players with at least one homer this season. "It's a good hitting park. We'll hit our share."
The Blue Jays did almost all of their damage Tuesday night on the soft tossing Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. Toronto has now won four in a row while the White Sox have dropped two straight after starting the year 2-0.
Left-hander J.A. Happ picked up the victory for Toronto as he allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out nine. He was limited to 5 1/3 innings because of an early high pitch count, but it was still enough to earn his first win of the year. Happ's ERA currently sits at 5.40, but that number would be 3.60 if his bullpen had not allowed a pair of inherited runners to score.
The Blue Jays weren't the only ones hitting the ball out of the park on Tuesday night as the White Sox lineup came through with three of its own. Tim Anderson, Avisail Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez each went deep in the losing effort. Garcia's homer traveled 481 feet, the longest in the Majors this year.
"The guys were looking good and having good at-bats," Happ said. "We stayed on them the whole game and scored a bunch late, which is always a good sign. That's fun to see, for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bringer of Rain: Donaldson's second home run of the season also marked the fifth consecutive game that he has homered against the White Sox. That ties a franchise record and also marks the second time in Donaldson's career that he went deep in five consecutive games vs. Chicago. Edwin Encarnacion did it twice (Arizona and Philadelphia) while Adam Lind also homered in five consecutive games against the Orioles in 2011. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's latest home run was projected to travel 360 feet and the ball left his bat at 94.7 mph.
Diaz delivers again: Diaz opened the season 0-for-9 but has been on a tear at the plate ever since. On Tuesday night, Diaz hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the third inning to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.
Diaz also homered during Monday's series opener and now has the two home runs and a pair of doubles over his last three games. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Diaz then had to be removed in the seventh inning because of back spasms. Diaz is considered day to day and Mpho' Ngoepe will assume responsibilities at shortstop until he can return.
"Just a little back spasm I had after I hit the homer, and it just got worse and worse as the game kept going," Diaz said through an interpreter. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
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The Blue Jays' 14 runs were their highest total in a game since May 29, 2017, vs. the Reds.
Aaron Sanchez will make his second start of the season when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the White Sox. Sanchez showed no lingering effects of last year's blister injury during his first start of the year by consistently hitting 95-96 mph with his sinker. He ran out of gas in the sixth inning of his first start, but should have more stamina his second time out.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.