Ryan Goins and the Blue Jays strike back and avoid sweep against White Sox before hitting the road to take on the Rangers starting tonight,
Four days after his game-winning solo home run beat the Tampa Bay Rays, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin joked that he was happy to be back in the spotlight if it meant he was doing something right.
In the sixth inning of Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at the Rogers Centre, Martin launched a drive off the top of the centre-field wall and over for a tworun homer.
The Jays racked up three runs in all in the sixth and three more in the seventh on the way to a 7-3 victory, avoiding an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the American League Central’s last-place club.
“I definitely barrelled it, but I wasn’t sure,” Martin said.
“It wasn’t a no-doubter, by any means. I saw on the replay that it hit the top of the wall, so it might make up for all the times that I’ve hit the ball hard at somebody this year.”
Five of Martin’s seven long balls in 2017 have tied the game or given the Jays a lead.
“I just want to keep doing that, keep helping the team win,” he said. “We’ve still got a ways to go, but we’re heading in the right direction.”
After allowing 16 White Sox runs over the previous two games, the Jays struck back with their 27th multi-homer game of the season. In the seventh inning, designated hitter Kendrys Morales cranked a two-run bullet for his third dinger in four games.
Every Jays starter managed at least one hit Sunday, with Jose Bautista snapping an 0-for-11 slump with a one-out single in the seventh, right before Morales’ blast.
“Everybody’s going to have to contribute for us to have success, and that’s what we kind of do,” said Martin.
“We kind of rally off each other, and today was one of those days.”
The hits didn’t come early for the Jays — just two in the first three frames. Catcher Martin credited Jays starter J.A. Happ for keeping the Jays close until the offence started to heat up.
After facing just 15 batters through four shutout innings, Happ allowed three straight singles in the fifth for the first Chicago run. Another single, ending an eight-pitch battle with White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, cashed in two more.
But that’s all they would get off Happ in his second-longest start of the season: 62⁄ innings. The lefty
3 struck out nine and walked none.
The Jays got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Steve Pearce — who finished the day 3 for 4 — scored on a Kevin Pillar single. Martin’s sixth-inning homer knocked out White Sox starter James Shields, making his first appearance since April 16 after a lat strain.
With Anthony Swarzak on in relief, Pearce singled and Ryan Goins tripled — his fourth three-bagger of the season — to put the Jays ahead 4-3.
Morales’ seventh-inning homer to left-centre was clocked at 112 m.p.h. and projected at 460 feet, according to MLB’s Statcast.
The Jays, at 33-35, now head out on the road for seven games against the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, still chasing that elusive .500 mark against a pair of teams in the same situation.
Sunday’s feel-good win puts the Jays in a good mood for the trip, Martin said.
As for manager John Gibbons, who calls San Antonio home, he expects some tight, back-and-forth games in Texas — and was looking forward to the trip.
“It’s always a good thing to go to the Lone Star state.”
Leaping White Sox centre-fielder Willy Garcia just misses a drive off the bat of Blue Jay Russell Martin, which bounced off the top of the fence and over for a two-run homer that put the home side ahead to stay on Sunday.