After dropping the series opener, the Blue Jays took the 2nd of their 4 game set with the Yankees, winning by a score of 7-5 on Friday. Justin Smoak had another big deal, but it was the multi-homer game from Josh Donaldson that should have fans really excited.
The Blue Jays have now won 9 of their last 11, and are just a game below .500, with another crack at hitting the mark tomorrow when they face off against the Yankees again. The Bronx Bombers beat up on the Jays in Thursday night’s series opener, and the Blue Jays responded with a 7-5 win on Friday night to even the series.
Several things went well for the Blue Jays including the return of Francisco Liriano from the DL, who had a solid outing, going 5 innings and allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits, while striking out 5. Justin Smoak had another big game at the plate, hitting his 13th home run of the season and picking up 3 RBI’s as well.
While all of those things and more are exciting to see, the highlight of the evening for me was the multi-home run game from Josh Donaldson. After battling calf issues for most of the season, Donaldson’s recent homer barrage is all the proof I need to know he’s healthy and ready to make it rain around the American League.
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He got to Michael Pineda in the first inning, giving the Blue Jays a lead in the opening inning. Pineda has been very effective this season and throws a very heavy, effective fastball, which makes it all that much more encouraging to see the Jays jump on him early.
Donaldson also took Jonathan Holder deep in the 6th as well, an small answer to the 4 runs the Yankees scored in the top half of that inning. The blasts were his 4th and 5th of the season, a pretty respectable total considering he’s only had 54 at bats thus far.
Then of course there was the moon shot he hit on Tuesday night against the Reds, becoming just the 9th player to hit a ball into the 5th deck at the Rogers Centre, on a laser that exited the bat at 109.5 miles per hour. Have a look for yourself:
If there was any doubt after that, the double dose of “rain” on Friday night should make Blue Jays fans sleep a little easier at night. Troy Tulowitzki also picked up two hits as well in the win, and has looked pretty solid in his return from the DL, which was simultaneous with the JD’s return.
As noted above, Donaldson has also has 54 at bats while playing in just 15 games thus far, but he now sits with a .296 average to go along with those 5 long balls. It’s pretty obviously he’s finding his groove at the plate, which may be the first time all season he’s been totally healthy and comfortable. It likely hasn’t hurt his cause that the Jays have held him out of day games that follow a night game either (as they have with Tulo), keeping him fresh and allowing him to ease back into the grind that is the MLB season.
We all remember what a healthy Donaldson can do, as evidenced by the MVP trophy from 2 years ago, and nearly repeating the same last year, which he may have if he hadn’t gotten dinged up down the stretch. His health is often the key to his success, but if Friday night is any indication, I think he just announced that he’s ready to take the rest of this season by storm.