Donaldson keeps mashing for Blue Jays

Donaldson keeps mashing for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The rigours of the Homer Run Derby and a lack of time off during the All-Star break didn't appear to have any negative effects on Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays third baseman kept hitting the long ball Friday as he delivered his team-leading 22nd homer of the season in a 6-2 win over the Rays in the series opener at Rogers Centre.

"I felt good today. I obviously didn't miss a lot of time. I got to get a couple of at-bats the other day [at the All-Star Game]," Donaldson said. "You just gotta be ready for a mistake."

After drawing a pair of walks in his first two at-bats, Donaldson was finally given something to hit against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the fifth inning. He jumped all over a 2-1 splitter, knocking it over the wall in right-centre field to score Devon Travis and give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.

Donaldson has the most home runs in a season by a Blue Jays third baseman since 2010, when Edwin Encarnacion went yard 20 times, and the most RBIs (58) by a Toronto third baseman since Troy Glaus had 61 in 2007.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he was impressed that Donaldson showed no signs of slowing down despite the fact that he was dealing with an illness heading into the All-Star Game and had to swing big at the Home Run Derby last week.

"He's been doing it all year. Even going into the All-Star break he was sick, and his last few days down there in Kansas City. He felt better in the home-run hitting contest, and then he has the last couple days off, after the game. He didn't get the full four days like everyone else."

Donaldson's dinger wasn't the only Blue Jays bomb of the inning. Justin Smoak went deep to left with an opposite-field shot in three batters later, plating Jose Bautista and Encarnacion to give Toronto an insurmountable 6-1 advantage.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.