Toronto can't fend off Boston after shortstop's go-ahead blast
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays had a disappointing end to their critical three-game series against the Red Sox, but if there was one silver lining, it was that their bats came back to life.
In Sunday's 11-8 loss to Boston at Rogers Centre, Toronto recorded eight runs for the first time since scoring nine Aug. 28 against the Twins, with the charge being led by Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion. The two recorded three hits apiece, with Tulowitzki hammering a go-ahead grand slam to cap a five-run third inning and Encarnacion hitting two home runs. With the loss, the Blue Jays are two games back of the Red Sox in the American League East, but share the Wild Card lead with the Orioles.
The offensive outburst comes while reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson is stuck in his biggest slump, having gone 0-for-23 with eight walks in his past six games. The Blue Jays' offense as a whole came into Sunday's contest averaging just three-and-a-half runs per game in September.
Tulowitzki hopes the outburst will kick-start the offense heading into the final 20 games.
"We'll be alright," Tulowitzki said. "It's a veteran lineup. You go through some good times and bad times. Ideally you want the middle of the order to click at the same time and that doesn't happen. I think when they do click at the same time that's when you see those big offensive games. Hopefully we can get that going here soon."
Out of Toronto's final 20 games, 14 will come against teams in the AL East, including a showdown with the Red Sox at Fenway Park to close the season. With the AL East now a four-team race, the Blue Jays' stretch against intradivisional opponents could say as much about the race as the season's final weekend.
"A lot of things can happen in the final stretch of the season," Tulowitzki said. "We've been jockeying for position all year. Just right now we're two games back. We would like to win the series, but unfortunately we didn't. We move on."
Tulowitzki's grand slam was the third of his career and gave the Blue Jays a 6-4 lead in a wild third inning. Outings similar to Sunday's for the five-time All-Star could go a long way in Toronto's offense consistently getting back on track. Tulowitzki has eight home runs and 28 RBIs in the second half after a difficult start.
Encarnacion recorded his 25th career multihomer game and fourth of the season. The 33-year-old slugger has 39, tied for second in the American League with the Twins' Brian Dozier.
"We're ready for this series," said Encarnacion, whose attention now shifts to Toronto's series with the Rays that begins Monday at Rogers Centre. "We're going to stay positive for the rest of the season."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.