PHILADELPHIA -- The Blue Jays need to beat teams like the Phillies if they expect to win their first American League East title since 1993.
They did just that Tuesday night in an 8-5 victory at Citizens Bank Park to stay one back of the Yankees, who beat the Twins, 8-4. Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson led the way, crushing a solo home run into the second deck in left field in the first inning and hitting a three-run shot to left-center field in the sixth to give the Blue Jays a two-run lead. His first homer was projected to travel 439 feet by Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 111.8 mph.
"He's swinging at everything well, and he's giving good at-bats as well, which I think is a big deal," reliever Liam Hendriks said about Donaldson. "Swinging the bat well, coming out and not giving up 0-2 or anything like that. He keeps battling, and he's put a lot of good swings on some balls this year." More >
Phillies right fielder Jeff Francoeur hit a solo homer in the second and Freddy Galvis tripled to score a run in the fourth, but the bullpen could not hold the lead as the Phillies have lost six of their past seven games.
"There's a lot of guys in this lineup you don't want to have a hiccup against," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said about the Blue Jays' offense. "You make quality pitches you're going to get them out. If you don't, you're in trouble."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bullpen saves Dickey: With Donaldson and the offense more than doing their part, the Blue Jays needed their bullpen to step up after starter R.A. Dickey allowed five runs in just four-plus innings. Ranked 13th in the Majors with a collective 3.76 ERA entering Tuesday, the combination of winning pitcher Hendriks, Brett Cecil, LaTroy Hawkins, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna held the Phillies scoreless over the final five innings and allowed just a pair of hits to secure the win.
Hitting without Franco: The Phillies might have lost their best bat for the rest of the season, when they placed rookie third baseman Maikel Franco on the disabled list with a broken left wrist. But they scored five runs Tuesday, one more than they scored over the weekend in a three-game series against the Brewers.
"I'm pleased with the offense," Mackanin said. "Unfortunately, our pitching is not where we want it to be at this point." More >
Blue Jays make most of opportunities: Despite being outhit, 11-9, Toronto capitalized on its chances against the Phillies. In the sixth, the Blue Jays tallied four hits -- two of which were home runs by Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion -- for five runs and an 8-5 lead they would not surrender.
Nola, bullpen struggle: Phillies rookie Aaron Nola allowed four hits, three runs, four walks and one homer, and he struck out five in five innings. He threw 94 pitches (53 strikes). It was the first time in 35 professional starts (29 in the Minors, six in the Majors) Nola walked four batters as he tried to be too perfect against a powerful lineup. He still left with a 5-3 lead, but Phillies relievers Elvis Araujo and Jeanmar Gomez allowed five runs in the sixth.
"I should have just went straight at them and capitalized on it," Nola said.
"I wish we had him here. He's fun to watch hit." -- Mackanin, on Donaldson
"It wasn't the ideal situation, but at the same time, it's my job to come in, and I've been pretty good at leaving guys on this year, so it's, 'Come in and try to get ahead.'" -- Hendriks, who improved to 4-0 after he shut down the Phillies in the fifth and allowed one inherited run to score with the bases loaded and no outs
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dickey's outing snapping the Blue Jays' franchise record of 20 consecutive starts with three earned runs or fewer allowed. The last time it happened was July 25 at Seattle, when Drew Hutchison allowed five earned runs in four innings.
HERNANDEZ AT THE HOT CORNER
Phillies third baseman Cesar Hernandez made two errors, a fielding error in the first and a throwing error in the eighth. Third base is not his natural position, but with Chase Utley still manning second base, Hernandez is forced to play third.
"It's not easy going from one side of the infield to the other," Mackanin said. "We're just kind of in the situation where we're forced to do it. But he also got a couple hits."
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Look for Kevin Pillar to return to the starting lineup as the Blue Jays finish the series against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The center fielder has started all but three games this year. Pillar, who leads the league with 119 games played after he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, has hit .258 this year with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.
Phillies: Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera has hit third since Franco sustained a broken left wrist Aug. 11 in Arizona. The Phillies have few other options, but the lineup is worth watching the remainder of the season without Franco healthy. Adam Morgan gets the start in the series finale at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.