BALTIMORE -- When Kendrys Morales hits home runs, they often come in bunches. Never was that more evident than Thursday night when the veteran slugger enjoyed one of the best offensive games in Blue Jays franchise history.Morales became the first Toronto player to have four hits, three home runs and
BALTIMORE -- When Kendrys Morales hits home runs, they often come in bunches. Never was that more evident than Thursday night when the veteran slugger enjoyed one of the best offensive games in Blue Jays franchise history.
Morales became the first Toronto player to have four hits, three home runs and seven RBIs in the same game. He went deep early and often as the driving force behind an 11-8 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The seven RBIs were a new career high and the three home runs matched his personal best. Morales previously homered three times in a game against the Tigers on Sept. 20, 2015, at Comerica Park. Carlos Delgado owns the bragging rights for arguably the best offensive game in franchise history with a four-homer performance on Sept. 25, 2003, but he finished that one with six RBIs.
"Huge day, huge day. It was the Mo Show," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Three homers, seven RBIs. Obviously what we needed on a night like tonight ... it was great to see, but he's been starting to heat up a little bit. I've seen that, too."
Morales hit a two-run homer in the third, a three-run shot in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth for home runs 23, 24 and 25 on the season. It was the third multi-homer game of the season for Morales and the 20th of his career. The 34-year-old also added an RBI single to finish with a season-high four hits in his best game to date in a Blue Jays uniform.
Camden Yards might be a hitter's ballpark but these home runs weren't cheap ones either. According to Statcast™, the three homers were projected to travel a combined 1,243 feet with the shortest one coming in at 396 feet on the solo homer to center in the eighth. They were long, they were loud and they didn't leave any doubt in people's minds about where the balls were headed.
"It's difficult to do, so you have to feel good about it," Morales said through an interpreter after the game. "Plus we got a win on top of that so I feel great."
Morales is now riding a mini four-game hitting streak, and he also has at least one hit in all but two of his previous 10 games. There have been signs of optimism after a rather prolonged slump that saw Morales make a lot of weak contact with far too many ground balls. Prior to Thursday night, Morales had just two home runs since July 28 but he's a streaky hitter, and it's possible this series in Baltimore could be the start of something bigger.
Toronto needed all of the production it could get out of Morales and then some in the series opener. Right-hander Marco Estrada put his team in an early deficit and allowed six runs over five innings, but with the way Morales was swinging the bat it didn't seem to matter.
"Most home run hitters are streaky, that's just the way it works," Gibbons said. "But it was good to see. It was good to see."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.