Martin's fluky homer helps lead Blue Jays in 7-3 win over White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin connects on a two-run home run off Chicago White Sox starter James Shields during sixth inning American League baseball action in Toronto on Sunday, June 18, 2017. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, June 19, 2017 4:39AM EDT
TORONTO - Russell Martin's seventh home run of the season barely made it over the wall, but like most of his homers this year, his timing was impeccable.
Martin hit a deep fly ball to centre field that Willy Garcia had to play right to the wall. As the White Sox centre-fielder jumped up to catch the ball it bounced off the wall directly behind his glove and over. The shot drove in Troy Tulowitzki and helped the Toronto Blue Jays rally past the Chicago White Sox 7-3 on Sunday afternoon.
"It wasn't a no-doubter by any means," Martin, still dressed in his jersey, said in Toronto's clubhouse after the game. "I saw on a replay that it hit the top of the wall. It might make up for all the times where I hit the ball hard and didn't see the result."
Five of Martin's home runs this season have either tied the game for the Blue Jays or given them the lead.
"I'd say that's pretty good timing," Martin said with a laugh. "I don't know what else to say but timing is key, timing is everything they say."
The win was timely for Toronto as well, with the Blue Jays struggling to a 7-8 record so far in June after back-to-back losses at Rogers Centre to the last-place White Sox. It was also important for Toronto to hit the road on a winning note with a four-game series in Texas starting Monday and a three-game series in Kansas City immediately after that.
Both teams have become rivals for the Blue Jays in the past two post-seasons and are also in the hunt for a wild-card spot.
"It's always big, we've been battling to get back to that .500 mark," said Gibbons. "We head down to Texas and Kansas City. It'll be hot in both places, we know that. We always have our battles with Texas.
The native of San Antonio, Texas, added with a smile: "It's always a good thing to go to the Lone Star State anyway, regardless, right?"
Kendrys Morales hit a two-run blast as Toronto (33-35) came back from as 3-0 deficit. Kevin Pillar had an RBI single and Ryan Goins drove in a run with a triple to account for the rest of the Blue Jays' runs.
"Any win is huge, but that right there to not get swept at home is big," said Goins. "Then going on the road to face two good teams that always bring a little bit of fire out in us is going to be a good time."
J.A. Happ (2-4) struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings, but allowed eight hits and three runs. Danny Barnes pitched 1 1/3 inning of relief before Roberto Osuna came in for a scoreless ninth inning.
Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu had RBI singles in the fifth to build a 3-0 lead for Chicago (31-37). The White Sox saw their three-game win streak snapped.
James Shields (1-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits and giving up three runs. Relievers Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings allowed two runs apiece. Michael Ynoa pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 inning. Swarzak (3-2) was charged with the loss.
Garcia led off the fifth with a single, and after a Kevan Smith basehit, Sanchez singled up the middle to score Garcia. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners and then Abreu hit a single to make it 3-0.
Pillar replied for Toronto in the bottom of the inning, stroking a single to left field and driving in Steve Pearce from second base.
Martin's homer in the sixth jumpstarted a Blue Jays rally. Pearce hit a single to right field in the next at bat and then Goins hit his triple for a 4-3 Toronto lead.
In the seventh, Morales added to that lead with his two-run shot to the second deck. Pearce's double to the left-field corner added another run as he drove in Tulowitzki and advanced Martin to third. A walk by Goins loaded the bases and Pillar followed that up with a hit to short that needed a video review to be called a force out to end the inning.
Osuna earned a strikeout, induced a groundout and fanned another hitter for the 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Notes: Announced attendance was 46,599.