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Kendrys HRs in 7th straight, 1 shy of MLB mark

August 26, 2018

TORONTO -- Kendrys Morales (Monina) has been baseball's hottest hitter, and he's on the verge of making MLB history.The Blue Jays' 35-year-old slugger launched a two-run homer in the third inning Sunday afternoon to put Toronto on the board in an 8-3 loss to the Phillies at Rogers Centre, which

TORONTO -- Kendrys Morales (Monina) has been baseball's hottest hitter, and he's on the verge of making MLB history.
The Blue Jays' 35-year-old slugger launched a two-run homer in the third inning Sunday afternoon to put Toronto on the board in an 8-3 loss to the Phillies at Rogers Centre, which ended the team's five-game winning streak. The 402-foot homer marked Morales' seventh straight game with a home run, breaking a Blue Jays franchise record set by Jose Cruz Jr. in 2001.
• Most consecutive games with a home run
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"It's pretty impressive," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's a surprise he still gets pitches to hit. ... I don't think any of us can comprehend how hard it is to do. It really couldn't happen to a better guy."
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The Major League record for most consecutive games with a home run is eight, shared by Ken Griffey Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956). He also broke this season's record of six straight games with a home run held by Matt Carpenter (Carp), and it's the first seven-game home run streak since Kevin Mench in 2006. Toronto's next game is Monday night in Baltimore, where Morales has hit six home runs in 116 career at-bats.

"I remember watching Griffey do it," Curtis Granderson (Grandyman) said. "But to see Morales do what he's been doing and just continue to do it, left-handed, right-handed, it doesn't matter who the pitchers are, it's that one thing that happens in the game when you get hot, you can be really hot, it doesn't matter what's going on."
The latest home run, which came against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez (Vicente), also extended Morales' hitting streak to 10 games. He's hitting .500 (17-for-34) with eight home runs, 15 RBIs and a Major League leading 1.746 OPS over that stretch.
"I'm really happy on the inside," Morales said through a translator. "I'm really happy so far, but at the same time we lost today."
After the game, Morales sent a game-used bat to Cooperstown, N.Y., to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
"I'm really happy that they want my bat," Morales said. "It's amazing what I've been doing so far."

Marco Estrada's (Estradosphere) afternoon did not go quite as well. He gave up consecutive home runs to Rhys Hoskins (Big Fella) and Carlos Santana (Slamtana) in the first inning, then surrendered a two-run homer to Maikel Franco (Compa F) in the third inning before he walked Odubel Herrera (Torito) and was yanked from the game without recording an out in the inning.

"He's a little banged up, his back was a little sore," Gibbons said. "It was just a tough day. ... they just hit him around a little bit. His velocity was down a little bit early in the game, but it picked up as he went along."
Estrada finished the afternoon having allowed five runs and seven hits over just two-plus innings of work. It was his second-shortest start of the season and the first time he hasn't pitched at least four innings since July 3, when he only recorded one out against the Mets before being pulled due to an injury.
"I just wasn't making pitches," Estrada said. "I had no command of my fastball or changeup, threw some OK curveballs, but for the most part I just had no idea where the ball was going. Made a lot of mistakes and I got hit hard for them."
The 35-year-old starter has been dealing with a nagging back injury since last season. He was placed on the disabled list twice last year with back soreness, and this year he went on the 10-day DL in July with a glute injury.
"I don't think it's a secret. ... It's pretty obvious that I'm not 100 percent," Estrada said. "But I'm good enough to be out there, and I don't plan on missing anything. I'm going to work through this."
The Blue Jays were looking to possibly deal Estrada before the end of the month, but his poor outing likely puts an end to any chance of the they can find a trade partner before the Aug. 31 deadline to add postseason-eligible players.
Velasquez went five innings for the Phillies. He allowed a pair of runs on three hits and was pulled after 84 pitches. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler turned it over to his bullpen, which allowed just a solo homer to Randal Grichuk (Grich) in the eighth inning.

SOUND SMART
Justin Shafer took over for Estrada and issued just one walk while recording a strikeout over three hitless innings. He has allowed just one hit over five scoreless innings since making his Major League debut on Aug. 19.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Billy McKinney went 2-for-3 Sunday afternoon with a pair of doubles and a walk. He's hitting .370 this season and .391 in eight games with the Blue Jays since coming over from the Yankees as part of the J.A. Happ deal on July 26.
UP NEXT
Morales will try to match the MLB record of eight consecutive games with a home run Monday as the Blue Jays open a three-game set against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Sam Gaviglio (3-6, 4.94) will take the mound for the 7:05 p.m. ET contest, making his second consecutive start against the O's. Last time out he went seven innings, allowing just a pair of runs and scattering six hits. Baltimore will counter with David Hess (2-8, 5.50), who's facing the Blue Jays for a second straight start. He, too, went seven innings and surrendered just one run and three hits.

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com.