TORONTO -- The longest stretch of Josh Donaldson's big league career without a home run finally came to an end during Toronto's 7-2 victory over the Astros on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.Donaldson hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning for career homer No. 150. It also marked his
TORONTO -- The longest stretch of Josh Donaldson's big league career without a home run finally came to an end during Toronto's 7-2 victory over the Astros on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Donaldson hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning for career homer No. 150. It also marked his first time going deep since June 11 in Seattle, which was a span of 21 games.
Toronto's star third baseman had been mired in a lengthy slump, but the tides started to turn earlier this week. He had a pair of hits in the series opener vs. Houston and a single and a walk in Game 2. On Saturday, he walked twice before going deep off right-hander Mike Fiers.
"I feel like I've been able to see the ball better," Donaldson said. "Slow the game down and ultimately have better at-bats. Also, defensively, I've begun to do that as well. That's important and we want it to be perfect all the time, but sometimes it gets away from us. I feel like it's definitely getting more repeatable and more consistent."
Donaldson finished his productive afternoon with three walks, a pair of runs scored and three RBIs, but his contributions were not limited to the batter's box. He also made a highlight-reel play in the third inning that stole extra bases away from Carlos Correa and helped starter Marcus Stroman escape a difficult situation.
With nobody out and runners on the corners, Correa hit a sharp liner that appeared destined to reach the corner in left field. According to Statcast™, the ball left Correa's bat at 100 mph but Donaldson soared into the air to snag the ball. To make the play even better, Donaldson landed and immediately planted his feet for a throw to first where he caught Josh Reddick too far off the bag and completed the double play.
The impressive grab played a big role in getting Stroman out of the third with just one earned run. Two innings later, Donaldson let his bat do the talking and the Blue Jays went on to pick up their fourth victory over the past five games.
"It was huge," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That could have opened it up, but we've seen him do that many times. He's a great athlete. Even though he's beat up, he can elevate pretty good. He didn't even hesitate going right to first base. ... Huge play at the time, and after that, Stroman really settled in."
Donaldson isn't the only Blue Jays hitter who has been showing signs of life lately. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki also got in on the action with a three-run homer as part of a 2-for-4 performance. Tulowitzki now has multiple hits in four of his past five games, and he has at least one hit in every game he's started this month.
"It seems like he's starting to get locked in," Gibbons said. "He's on a nice little roll, and he's confident right now. He's got big-time power and can hit in streaks, so maybe this is the start of something."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.