Donaldson reaches 40 homers for first time

Third baseman is third player in Blue Jays history to post 40-HR, 40-double season

Donaldson reaches 40 homers for first time

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson reached the 40-homer plateau for the first time in his career on Friday, going deep in the third inning of the Blue Jays' 5-3 win against the Rays at Rogers Centre to tie the game at 2. Donaldson's solo shot cleared the wall in center field, making him the ninth player in club history to record a 40-home run season. He also became the third Blue Jays player to hit 40 homers and 40 doubles in a season, joining Shawn Green (1999) and Carlos Delgado (2000).

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"Homers are good for the team because it gets us back in the game. Forty, how much does that mean to me? I don't really know," Donaldson said. "It's cool to have that, but I want to finish good, it's just how I approach it."

Donaldson has put up MVP-caliber numbers this season, and "M-V-P, M-V-P" chants roar through Rogers Centre every time he steps into the batter's box. Friday was more of the same as 47,696 fans cheered him on every chance they got.

Donaldson, who's in his first season with the Blue Jays after joining the club in a trade with A's in the offseason, has transformed the Blue Jays' offense. The 37 homers he's hit in the No. 2 spot are the most in club history, he leads the Major Leagues with 121 RBIs, which are the most by a player in his first year with a new team since Mark Teixeira's 122 with the Yankees in 2009, and he sports an American League-best 82 extra-base hits. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons described Donaldson as the gift that just keeps giving.

"We knew he was good, I didn't know he was this good," Gibbons said. "He's had a huge year, MVP-type year. He was in a bit of rut, for him anyway, and that 40th is a good solid number, instead of sitting on 39."

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