TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' offense can be feast or famine at times. On Sunday afternoon, it was an all-you-can-eat buffet.Having been built for years to live and die with the home run, it should come as no surprise the Blue Jays thrive when balls leave the yard and struggle
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' offense can be feast or famine at times. On Sunday afternoon, it was an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Having been built for years to live and die with the home run, it should come as no surprise the Blue Jays thrive when balls leave the yard and struggle when they stay in the park. The trend continued in a 7-3 win over the White Sox in the series finale.
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The Blue Jays are 3-13 in games when they don't homer and have lost seven straight under those conditions. The record in multi-homer games, unsurprisingly, is much better at 19-8. Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales delivered the big blows in the finale with a pair of two-run homers that helped Toronto avoid the sweep.
"That's kind of our DNA," Martin said. "We love the long ball. We're kind of built that way. Don't necessarily want to rely on it all the time, I feel there is definitely different ways to win ballgames. But I think today was [J.A. Happ] keeping us in the ballgame ... and everybody is going to have to contribute for us to have success."
The offense looked rather lethargic during the first two games of this series. There were very few signs of life from the bats, and whenever that happens it usually causes accusations about a lackadaisical approach to the game. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons dismissed that on Saturday by saying it was just the nature of the sport, and the following day he received some vindication.
The Blue Jays' lineup was stymied once again through the first five innings of this game by right-hander James Shields. That changed in the sixth when Troy Tulowitzki hit an infield single and then Martin brought the crowd to its feet with an opposite-field two-run jack that went off the top of the wall in right-center field.
Just like that the Blue Jays had renewed life. Two batters later, Ryan Goins hit a go-ahead RBI triple. In the next inning, Morales added a two-run homer -- projected to travel 460 feet by Statcast™ -- and Toronto went on cruise control the rest of the way. The Blue Jays and Orioles are tied for fifth in the American League with 95 home runs.
"He's one of the top catchers out there with the power," Gibbons said in reference to the homer that was projected by Statcast™ to travel 399 feet. "Russell probably has as much, if not more than anybody on the team, opposite-field power. When he's driving the ball that way he's going to hit his fair share of home runs."
Morales was brought in this offseason on a three-year deal to replace Edwin Encarnacion and at least in the power department, he has done an admirable job. Morales' 15 homers are the second most on the team and one fewer than Encarnacion has for the Indians. In a rather ironic twist, the two players have homered on the same day five times this season.
"You can't hit it much farther than that," Gibbons said. "When we signed Morales, we knew he had some power. He hit his fair share of home runs in Kansas City, which is probably the toughest place to hit them. From both sides of the plate, too. It's pick your poison with him because he can hit it out either way."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.