SPORTS

Donaldson's homer rallies Toronto Blue Jays to 6-5 home win over Atlanta Braves

04/18/2015 04:12 EDT | Updated 07/06/2015 03:59 EDT
TORONTO - Josh Donaldson doesn't care where he hits in the lineup.

But batting in the two-hole certainly comes with its advantages.

"It's just a position, (but) that being said, it's also nice to have Jose Bautista hitting behind me," Donaldson said with a smirk after hitting a walkoff homer in the 10th inning Saturday to power the Blue Jays to a 6-5 comeback win over the Atlanta Braves.

"What's great about this lineup is it can be anybody any given day," he added. "We have a lot of guys in here that are very capable of shouldering the load and today it was just my turn."

Donaldson connected on the second pitch he saw from Braves reliever Sugar Ray Marimon (0-1), driving it into the second deck of the left-field stands for his third home run of the season — and his third hit of the afternoon.

The Blue Jays third baseman, who was acquired in an off-season trade that sent Canadian Brett Lawrie to Oakland, moved into the two-spot ahead of Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay. He has nine hits since.

"I don't think it's anything in that (two-hole) slot that's changed anything for him. He's just a good hitter and he's swinging the bat well," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "One of the big stats is Wins Above Replacement and he's up there with MVP guys and that says it all right there.

"I was shocked we were able to get him but I'm glad that we did."

Toronto (6-6) clawed back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run homer by Jose Bautista. But former Blue Jay Kelly Johnson's solo shot off rookie Miguel Castro in the ninth made it 5-5.

Montreal's Russell Martin, Dalton Pompey of Mississauga, Ont., and Steve Tolleson all drove in runs in the seventh while Danny Valencia was 4-for-4 with two doubles and two singles for the Blue Jays.

Brett Cecil (1-1) got the win after pitching the top of the 10th inning.

"I think when you do the little things right it ends up being a big thing," said Donaldson of the team effort. "You see those results happening today. It's just one of those things where you're never out of the game until the 27th out, or in this case when you go extras. ... You can't lose sight of really grinding it out the entire game."

Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski homered off Toronto starter R.A. Dickey while Chris Johnson hit a sacrifice fly for Atlanta (7-4).

"We've been swinging the bats well all season," Freeman said. "We've been scoring some runs, getting some hits and the last few games we've been hitting some home runs."

Dickey gave up four runs on four hits through seven frames while fanning six and walking four.

Toronto had chances to inflict damage early but Atlanta turned four double plays over the first five innings to keep the Jays off the board.

Chris Johnson opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly in a shaky first for Dickey that saw him walk two consecutive batters. Freeman belted a two-run homer in the third and Pierzynski made it 4-0 for Atlanta in the fourth when he launched the first pitch he saw to right field.

But Toronto scored three runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Martin drove in Valencia from second with a line-drive single to right field before Tolleson scored Martin with a triple. Pompey brought Tolleson home, beating out a groundball out that was upheld after video review.

"This was a real community win," said Dickey. "Dalton Pompey busting his tail down to first base is a huge play, Ryan Goins almost beating it out on a routine grounder, sliding in head first (in the bottom of the ninth), we've got a lot of fight in this clubhouse.

"You know if you can keep the guys in the game and get a little bit deeper in the game than you're going to have a chance to win."

NOTES — Atlanta starter Alex Wood allowed three runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings. ... Toronto concludes its three-game series against the Braves on Sunday. LHP Daniel Norris (1-0, 4.22 earned-run average) starts for Toronto. RHP Shelby Miller (1-0, 0.90 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta.

___

Follow @ThrowinSmoke on Twitter

MORE:cpSports