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Pillar's 3-run HR lifts Blue Jays over Dodgers

May 6, 2016

TORONTO -- Kevin Pillar hit a three-run homer in the eighth and Jose Bautista added a two-run shot of his own, as the Blue Jays picked up their fourth consecutive win with a 5-2 victory over the Dodgers on Friday night at Rogers Centre.Toronto and Los Angeles were tied at

TORONTO -- Kevin Pillar hit a three-run homer in the eighth and Jose Bautista added a two-run shot of his own, as the Blue Jays picked up their fourth consecutive win with a 5-2 victory over the Dodgers on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Toronto and Los Angeles were tied at 2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Blue Jays put together a one-out rally. Edwin Encarnacion doubled, Justin Smoak was intentionally walked, and then Pillar went deep on a 1-2 pitch from Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton.
"I think it's the first time someone has been intentionally walked in front of me," Pillar said. "Naturally, you try to do too much. I think I got caught up on that the swing before, had to gather myself and do what I've been doing, just hit the ball hard."
• Pillar comes up big against hometown Dodgers

The Blue Jays improved to 7-9 all-time against the Dodgers while Los Angeles dropped its second straight. Meetings between these two clubs are rare, but the last time they played each other, the Dodgers swept a three-game series at Rogers Centre in 2013.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda allowed two runs over six innings, with the only damage coming in his final inning on a two-run homer by Bautista. Toronto righty Marcus Stroman held the Dodgers scoreless until the seventh, when he allowed a pair of runs on three consecutive hits before he was pulled from the game at the end of the frame.
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"Overall, Kenta was really good," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He was sharp. Everything was working, and that's an aggressive team. He competes. The catchers say he's fun to catch."
Pillar makes them pay: With a runner on second and one out in the eighth inning. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to intentionally walk Smoak. That put two runners on for Pillar, and he made the Dodgers pay with a three-run shot to left. Pillar entered the game on a 10-game hitting streak and was batting .409 (18-for-44) with seven doubles and one homer over that same span.
"Guys get a little ticked off when that happens," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the intentional pass. "But he was playing against the team he grew up watching, rooting for. I'm sure there were a few folks back home watching him tonight."
• Blanton continues Dodgers 'pen's struggles

Defensive gems: Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner saved a first-inning run with a diving, back-handed spear of Encarnacion's sharp line drive, which was headed for the left-field corner with two outs and Josh Donaldson on second base. Two innings later, right fielder Yasiel Puig delivered a perfect throw to retire former teammate Darwin Barney trying to stretch a single into a double.
• Puig nails Barney at second with perfect throw

Bautista bomb: The Blue Jays and Dodgers were locked in a scoreless tie until Bautista stepped to the plate in the sixth. Toronto's veteran slugger worked the count full before unloading on an 84-mph slider from Maeda, sending it deep over the wall in left. According to Statcast™, Bautista's sixth long ball of the year was projected to travel 436 feet and left his bat at 109 mph. It was Bautista's first home run since April 30 and the sixth of his career vs. the Dodgers.

Extra rest, no sweat: Maeda allowed only two hits, but walked four after walking six in the previous five starts. He was pitching on seven days of rest, but the right-hander wouldn't use that as an excuse for the walks. Instead, he said he might have been pitching a little too carefully.
"He has a great, late-breaking slider. He lives on the edges," Gibbons said of Maeda. "His fastball reads 90 mph, but with all the breaking pitches, it plays a lot better than that. He was pretty dominating, he really was. He's having a [heck] of a year, he really is. It was a heck of a pitched game."

"I don't hit enough of them to know that they're going to be homers." -- Pillar, on whether he thought it was gone off the bat
The Blue Jays are 26-15 (.634) in Interleague Play since the start of 2014, which is the second-best record in the Majors. Kansas City owns the top record at 30-15 (.667).
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In the top of the ninth, a play at second base was challenged by both clubs. With Dodgers runners on first and second and one out, Carl Crawford grounded to Donaldson at third, whose low throw to second was caught by Barney, who dropped the ball as he stumbled trying to throw to first base. Second-base umpire Chad Fairchild called runner Joc Pederson out at second. The Dodgers challenged that Barney did not have possession of the ball for the out, while the Blue Jays challenged that Pederson's slide was illegal, but in both cases the umpire's call was confirmed.
Dodgers:Clayton Kershaw, coming off a 14-strikeout masterpiece against San Diego, makes his first career start in Canada in Saturday's 10:07 a.m. PT game. Crawford will be the designated hitter for the Dodgers.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (1-3, 5.73) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series against the Dodgers on Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET. Dickey is coming off his best outing of the year after he limited the Rangers to one run over 6 1/3 innings. That followed a rough stretch of April, which saw Dickey post a 6.75 ERA in five starts.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001.