TORONTO - It has been a rarity for the meat of the Toronto Blue Jays' potent batting order to have a quiet evening at the plate.
The bottom third of the order was there to pick up the load Wednesday night.
Kevin Pillar hit a solo shot and Danny Valencia sealed the win with a three-run blast in Toronto's five-run eighth inning as the Blue Jays dumped the New York Mets 8-0 at Rogers Centre.
Pillar had three of Toronto's 10 hits as the Blue Jays kicked off a five-game homestand in front of 28,906 fans on a cool, comfortable spring evening. Ryan Goins, the No. 9 hitter behind Valencia and Pillar, chipped in with two hits and made several nice defensive plays at second base.
"That was kind of a black hole for us at times last year," manager John Gibbons said of the bottom of the order. "They just keep doing it."
The Blue Jays ended their two-game mini-skid and extended their home winning streak to seven games.
Toronto starter Drew Hutchison (6-1) worked 5 2/3 innings for the victory. Steve Delabar, Liam Hendriks, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera completed the six-hit shutout.
The Blue Jays (35-32), who remained two games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the American League East, have won 12 of their last 14 games. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the N.L. East-leading Mets (36-31).
Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were all held without a hit while Josh Donaldson had a double and scored twice.
Pillar's blast off Mets starter Jon Niese (3-7) came in the seventh inning. It was his fifth homer of the year. Valencia padded the lead with a no-doubt shot for his third homer of the season.
"We're guys that are used to being relied on by your team," Pillar said. "It's no different here. Just because we hit at the bottom of the order, we're (still) comfortable with being up in big situations like we did in the minor leagues. I don't know where else you expect to hit in this lineup.
"It's a pretty powerful lineup and we just take pride in trying to make it a longer lineup."
New York beat the Blue Jays in the first two games of the home-and-home series at Citi Field. The interleague set will wrap up Thursday night.
"That might be the best lineup against left-handed pitching that there is in the game," said Mets manager Terry Collins.
Hutchison was helped by some stellar defence from Goins in the early going. He made a nice diving snag to rob Lucas Duda of a hit and caught a Michael Cuddyer liner for the third out.
In the second inning, Pillar drove in Chris Colabello with a single to plate the game's first run. Pillar and Valencia tried a delayed double steal with two outs and runners on the corners, but the Mets didn't bite and Valencia was tagged out in a rundown on the third-base line.
With his pitch count at 105, Hutchison was pulled in the sixth after giving up a two-out double to Cuddyer. Hutchison allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five.
"He gave us just what we needed and the bullpen was great, they really were tonight," Gibbons said. "And they were a little beat up, they were worn out after that last road trip. So I tip my hat to those guys for performing there."
Donaldson led off the sixth with a double and scored when Colabello stroked a single up the middle. Niese pitched seven innings and allowed seven hits, three earned runs and four walks while striking out six.
"The part of the lineup I didn't want to beat me, I was able to keep them in check for the most part," Niese said. "The bottom of the lineup were the guys that got me. It's tough. That's why they're a good team, because one through nine you have to stay focused and execute all the way down."
Mets reliever Akeel Morris gave up five earned runs in the eighth inning. He was optioned to double-A Binghamton after the game.
Notes: The game took two hours 33 minutes to play. ... Veteran pitchers are set to square off Thursday night as Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (2-6, 5.35 earned-run average) faces Bartolo Colon (9-4, 4.41). ... The Blue Jays will wrap up the homestand with a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. ... Second baseman Devon Travis (left shoulder) could return to the Blue Jays by the end of the week. Travis, who went on the disabled list May 17, has been on a minor-league rehab assignment this week.
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