When Johnny Mac is slugging to the tune of .509 for the season, you have to figure something is going right with the Jays’ bats. McDonald homered for the second time in three games (his career-high fifth of the year) and Toronto scored 10 times off Jeff Niemann and Lance Cormier in the sixth last night in a 13-5 win over the Rays.
McDonald’s solo shot in the third inning gave the Jays a 1-0 lead, which Ricky Romero held till the fifth before another Aaron Hill gaffe opened the door for a two-out, three-run Rays rally to make it 3-1. With two down in the inning and Tampa Bay without a hit a in the game, Hill mishandled a Ben Zobrist grounder to score Evan Longoria and load the bases for Dan Johnson, who doubled home a pair. Hill was originally charged with an error, though the call was swapped to a hit after Toronto followed with 10 the next inning. The overturn was the third such for Hill since Saturday.
Hill made amends in the sixth, homering for the second time in as many days, but only after consecutive doubles by Vernon Wells, Adam Lind and John Buck already pulled the Jays c0mfortably ahead. Jose Bautista applied the icing with a two-out, three-run homer off Cormier — his 43rd of the season — to make it 11-3 and bump his RBI total to 102. Not bad, but I still think Robinzon Diaz could do better (Note: I didn’t write that. I don’t know who did, but it’s pretty amusing to look back on).
Romero ended up going seven-and-a-third for the Jays, giving up five runs (four earned) on three hits and five walks. More importantly, he won, running his record to 11-8 and leaving his inning total a comfortable 20 short of the 200 mark with about six starts to go. Niemann, meanwhile, in his second start off the disabled list, was laced for seven earned runs over five innings for Tampa Bay, giving him 17 over his last two outings and bumping his ERA from 3.12 to 3.97 in that span.
The Jays and Rays are back at it for the rubber match tonight, with Shaun Marcum (11-7, 3.61) on the hill against David Price (15-6, 3.01). Toronto is due against Price — in three starts this season, he’s 3-0 against the Jays and has given up just one earned run in 23 innings.