NEW YORK -- Russell Martin had been waiting a very, very long time for this. Forty-one games, to be exact.Martin's homerless drought finally came to an end at 124 at-bats on Wednesday night when he went deep twice in Toronto's 8-4 victory over the Yankees. It was the second-longest stretch
NEW YORK -- Russell Martin had been waiting a very, very long time for this. Forty-one games, to be exact.
Martin's homerless drought finally came to an end at 124 at-bats on Wednesday night when he went deep twice in Toronto's 8-4 victory over the Yankees. It was the second-longest stretch without a home run to start a season in Martin's career and one that he'll want to put in his rearview mirror as quickly as possible.
Martin also contributed to some history in the seventh inning, teaming with Michael Saunders to establish the first duo from Canada to homer in the same inning of a Major League game, and just the second duo to do so in the same game. Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie previously did it in the same game five times for the Twins.
Martin played a pivotal role in a breakout night at the plate for Toronto's struggling offense. Prior to Wednesday, the veteran catcher's last home run came all the way back on Oct. 2, 2015, against the Rays, but on this night, he went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in easily his best game of the year.
"It definitely felt like it had been awhile, so it's definitely nice to get that first one," said Martin, who finished the night 2-for-5 with three RBIs. "Normally, I'd rather get it in April than late in May, but hopefully it's a sign that there's more to come."
The only time Martin went through a longer stretch without a home run to start the season came in 2009, when he was still with the Dodgers. That season, Martin didn't homer until June 20, a span of 217 at-bats. Martin eventually finished with seven, which is the second lowest total of his career during a year in which he played at least 100 games.
The stretch this season wasn't quite as long, but such a lengthy drought still prompted concern. Martin's solo homer in the sixth inning was just his first extra-base hit in May; his only other one this season was a double back on April 22.
This is not the way Martin envisioned starting the year, but instead of dwelling on the negatives, he'll focus on the positives. There were plenty of those in New York.
One inning after his homer in the sixth, Martin delivered a two-run drive to right field. Martin is at his best when he's using the entire field, and Wednesday's breakout performance was just the latest example.
"I faced Russ many times, and that's what I remember, is him going the other way so well," said Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, who tossed seven innings in the win. "When you see him going that way like he did today, he becomes an extremely dangerous hitter. It's good to see. I'm glad for him."
Toronto's offensive production was not limited to just Martin. Saunders' two-run homer in the seventh was his ninth of the season and his fifth against a left-handed pitcher. The Blue Jays got at least one hit from every member of their starting lineup, and everyone but Josh Donaldson and Ryan Goins scored at least one run.
"It feels like we're doing what we're supposed to," Martin said. "When we're clicking, we pitch well and we hit well. Tonight was one of those nights."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.