Thursday, June 23, 2016

Blue Jays' 3 homers help end D-backs' streak

 Russell Martin slammed a first-inning, three-run home run, while Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki added solo shots to power the Blue Jays past the D-backs, 5-2, and snap Arizona's five-game winning streak on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Martin's home run came on a 3-2 fastball with two outs in the first against Arizona starterRobbie Ray and was one of just four hits Toronto mustered off the D-backs' left-hander. Encarnacion's blast was his league-leading 22nd RBI in June, while Tulowitzki's home run was his second in four games since coming off the disabled list, helping the Blue Jays snap a three-game losing streak.
"I'm just trying to get back to my successful ways," Tulowitzki said. "Be that hitter that I was -- which was a very confident guy -- someone that wasn't afraid to fail. Just let it go, and lately I've been getting better results."
J.A. Happ navigated his way through five innings to pick up the win, allowing two runs on six hits. Despite striking out eight Arizona batters, the veteran left-hander struggled with his command, walking four and throwing just 57 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
"It was a battle, for sure," Happ said. "I felt like I was executing some pitches and suppose I was just missing there, so it made for a lot of long counts. Four walks is too many, but the bullpen came in and did an awesome job. They picked me up, picked the team up. Good win today."
Coming off back-to-back quality starts, Ray held the Blue Jays at bay for most of the afternoon, but allowed multiple home runs for the first time since May 27, and the third time this season. The 24-year-old left-hander was pulled after 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs.
"I feel pretty positive," Ray said. "I've been able to keep us in [games] and being able to get out, down in the zone and elevate when I need to -- just take the positives from every start and go with it."
Paul Goldschmidt finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, while Michael Bourn added an RBI single for the D-backs, who saw their six-game road winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time in their past 11 games.
Starting early: Martin got the Blue Jays on the board right off the bat, working a 3-2 count before turning around a 95-mph four-seam fastball. According to Statcast™, Martin's sixth homer of the season traveled a projected 413 feet with a launch angle of 27 degrees.
Getting close: In the fourth, with Arizona trailing 3-1, Yasmany Tomas reached on a one-out double. After Nick Ahmed's groundout, Bourn singled home Tomas to pull the D-backs to within one, but they stranded nine runners in the game and struck out 12 times -- a day after fanning 14 times. More >
Edwing: Encarnacion provided the Blue Jays with some breathing room in the sixth inning, taking a 1-1 fastball over the left-field wall on Edwing T-shirt giveaway day at the ballpark. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 19th home run of the season traveled 407 feet, with an exit speed of 110 mph. More >
Making them pay: With two out in the third, the D-backs capitalized on an error by Blue Jays right fielder Darrell Ceciliani. After Jean Segura walked, Ceciliani couldn't corral Phil Gosselin's fly ball and let it roll behind him to the wall, allowing Segura to score and Gosselin to get to third.
Josh Donaldson was substituted out of the game in the top of the ninth inning, with Darwin Barney taking over at third base. Donaldson fouled a ball off his leg in the top of the fifth inning, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said the reigning American League MVP was lifted for precautionary reasons due to a sore neck.
"He had a bad neck all day," Gibbons said. "There was even the question of if he was going to play, but he didn't want any part of that. But I figured at that point [the ninth], it was better for his protection."
Gibbons won his review in the ninth on a ground ball to second base by Segura, who was initially called safe on the play. But replays showed that second baseman Devon Travis' throw beat the D-backs' shortstop to the bag, and the call was overturned.
D-backs: Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.54 ERA) gets the ball on Thursday as the D-backs open a four-game series in Colorado at 5:40 p.m. MST. The 32-year-old right-hander pitched eight innings of one-run baseball his last time out, a 4-1 win over the Phillies. Greinke has not lost a start since May 12.
Blue Jays: After an off-day on Thursday, the Blue Jays open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field. Toronto sends Aaron Sanchez (7-1, 3.35) to the hill, with first pitch set at 8:10 PM ET. Sanchez picked up a victory his last time out against the Orioles, throwing six innings of two-run ball while striking out six.

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