Donaldson's walk-off homer caps Blue Jays' comeback over Braves
By Jamie Ross and Dan Toman
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson played the hero as the Blue Jays staged a come-from-behind, 6-5 victory over the Braves at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon. With the game knotted at 5 in the 10th, Donaldson swatted a homer off Braves reliever Sugar Ray Marimon over the left-field wall for a walk-off win.
It looked like the Braves were on the road to victory until starter Alex Wood stumbled in the seventh. The lefty had cruised until that point, but allowed three runs before he was yanked from game during a big Blue Jays inning. Danny Valencia sparked the rally with a one-out double off the left-field wall before Russell Martin scored him with a single. An RBI triple from Steve Tolleson made it a two-run game before Dalton Pompey beat out an infield single to score Tolleson and shave the Braves' lead to a single run.
That preceded the back-and-forth madness of the eighth and ninth, with Jose Bautista and Kelly Johnson trading homers before the game rolled into extra innings, setting the table for Donaldson's heroics. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Freeman continues to haunt Dickey: Freddie Freeman homered for the second game in a row, knocking a two-run shot over the wall in right in the third inning. The jack came against a familiar foe: Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Freeman, who's faced Dickey more than anyone on the Braves, was 1-for-2 against the 40-year-old, and in addition to his homer drew a walk. He's a career 11-for-23 (.478) against Dickey.
Dickey struggles with command: Dickey allowed four more walks Saturday -- his third straight start issuing at least three -- in another inconsistent outing. No walk hurt more than his third-inning free pass to Nick Markakis. After striking out the first two batters of the inning, Dickey looked to have the side retired when the call on a close 2-2 knuckleball went Markakis' way. Dickey ended up walking the Braves' DH, and one batter later served up the two-run shot to Freeman.
Markakis on a tear: Markakis reached base in his first eight plate appearances in the Braves' Interleague series against the Blue Jays before lining out in the ninth on Saturday. After going 4-for-4 at the dish on Friday, Markakis drew three walks in his first three at-bats against Dickey and then cracked a single off Colt Hynes in the eighth.
Simmons with a stellar play. With two outs and the tying run on second, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons came through with a highlight-reel catch to preserve Atlanta's one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh on Saturday. Simmons chased down a Devon Travis blooper that was destined to drop in short-centre field, making an incredible over-the-shoulder, sliding catch to end the inning. More >
Not over until it's over: The Braves and Blue Jays traded late-inning blows with game-saving home runs in the eighth and ninth to extend the contest into extra innings. Bautista bailed out Toronto with a towering two-run shot in the eighth to give the home side a one-run advantage before Johnson's solo blast to deep center just cleared the outstretched glove of Pompey and tied the game at 5 in the ninth.
"Everybody saw it. I don't need to talk about it. You watched the game. You got instant replay on the TV. I'm still kind of at a loss. Pretty interesting stuff for sure." -- a frustrated Wood, on a crucial replay review that resulted in a Pompey infield single, which brought home a key run for the Blue Jays in the seventh inning
"I feel pretty good at the plate right now. I think what's great about this lineup is it can be anybody any given day. We have a lot of guys in here who are capable of shouldering the load and today was just my turn." -- Donaldson, on his third homer in two games
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Wood induced four double plays through the first five innings. Tom Glavine holds the Braves record in that category with five, which he accomplished twice in the 1997 season.
• Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked for a review after Pompey was ruled safe when he appeared to leg out an infield hit that scored Tolleson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. After review, the umpires ruled the call on the field stood, making it a one-run game.
• In the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Jays challenged a call on the field when Ryan Goins was ruled out by an eyelash at first. He'd attempted to beat out a ground ball with a headfirst slide, but was ruled out. Following a review, the call on the field was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves:Shelby Miller gets the start for Atlanta on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET. The right-hander was lights-out in his only career start against the Blue Jays, pitching six no-hit innings before finishing with a three-hit, complete-game shutout as a member of the Cardinals in 2014. Miller (1-0) has allowed one earned run over 10 innings this season.
Blue Jays: Daniel Norris will make the first Interleague start of his career when he toes the rubber opposite Miller in the series finale. Norris (1-0) has limited left-handed hitters to a .188 career batting average, while the Braves entered Saturday's play with the lowest OPS against southpaws in the National League. The Blue Jays' rookie has gone at least five frames in each of his two outings this season, striking out nine with five walks over 10 2/3 innings.