Donaldson wasting no time making mark on Blue Jays
Third baseman's walk-off vs. Braves just latest act for Toronto newcomer
By Dan Toman
Special to MLB.com |
TORONTO -- Whether it's batting out of the two-hole, swinging for a game-winning hit, or adjusting to an offspeed pitch, Josh Donaldson keeps the same approach every at-bat. It just so happens this one ended with a dramatic walk-off blast.
Donaldson made it rain inside Rogers Centre on Saturday, collecting three more hits, a pair of runs and his third homer of the season to power the Blue Jays to a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Less than two weeks into his career with the Blue Jays, Donaldson is already making quite the impression on manager John Gibbons.
"Not everybody can do that," Gibbons said after Donaldson crushed a 1-0 changeup from Braves reliever Sugar Ray Marimon in the 10th to even the series. "Donaldson is one of those guys. He's so focused, he's not just up there swinging ... He has a plan."
Donaldson, who's been on a tear since Gibbons inserted him into the No. 2 spot in the Blue Jays' lineup, says his game plan is simple: See the ball and hit it.
"I was just looking for something out over the plate I could drive right there," he said, "and it just happened to be a changeup."
The All-Star third baseman has now collected multiple hits in four of his last five games and is batting .529 (9-for-17) since moving to the second spot in the order. Donaldson admitted it's more about the who than the where.
"It's just a position," he said after going 3-for-4 with a walk. "The two-hole, what it allows me to do is get more at-bats normally in the game. With that being said, it's also nice to have Jose Bautista hitting behind you."
Donaldson went 10 games without clearing the fence before homering twice Friday. Gibbons, noting Donaldson's gaudy wins above replacement (WAR) totals the last two seasons, admits the power's nice, but says the slugger's contributions have shown up well beyond the box score.
"Forget the fact he's a good player," Gibbons said. "He brings something to that clubhouse. He has energy, he's a fun-loving guy, but once that game starts, he's all baseball. It's legit."
Dan Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.