The umbrella dance is becoming a real thing.
It took the Blue Jays one batter Monday afternoon to have more hits than their previous game.
Bo Bichette led off the game against the Braves with a single, a day after the Blue Jays were no-hit by the Astros’ Justin Verlander.
It took the Braves four batters before they had the lead for good as Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. It was Donaldson’s 34th home run of the season, his 25th in his 73 games since June 11.
The Braves went on to defeat the Blue Jays 6-3 at SunTrust Park, their ninth consecutive home victory. With an 85-54 record, the Braves are a season-high 31 games over .500 and have a magic number of 19 to clinch the National League East. The Braves have won 16 of their past 20 games.
Donaldson, nicknamed the Bringer of Rain, was given an umbrella upon entering the dugout as he took his celebratory stroll. There was a similar scene after Donaldson homered against the White Sox in the eighth inning of Saturday’s win.
Braves manager Brian Snitker invoked the movie “Happy Gilmore” when describing the celebration.
“That wasn’t my idea,” Donaldson said after the win. “The guys have kind of taken off with it. It’s pretty cool. I like it, but there is no way I could have ever come up with that.”
When told of Snitker’s comparison, Donaldson agreed.
“It is,” he said. “The bullpen guys, every day, they want to do something. I feel like we are pushing the line a little bit, but at the same time we are having fun. I feel like it’s not something that is on the field that is disrespecting anyone.”
Donaldson already has the third-most home runs of his career and is closing on his best of 41 set in 2015.
The Braves scored two unearned runs in the third inning after Dansby Swanson hit a bases-loaded ground ball that Blue Jays third baseman Brandon Drury booted. The Braves had runners on each base after Blue Jays starter Jacob Waguespack walked three ahead of the play. Albies and Donaldson scored on the play to give the Braves a 4-0 lead.
The Blue Jays got a solo home run from Randal Grichuk in the fourth inning to make the score 4-1. Rowdy Tellez hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the fifth inning to make it 4-2. Both came off Braves starter Mike Soroka, who earned the win and improved to 11-3. The Blue Jays pushed across another run in the fifth on Grichuk’s sacrifice fly to pull within a run. The Blue Jays trailed 4-3 but held a 5-1 advantage in hits.
Soroka left after the fifth inning, having thrown 89 pitches, and surrendered five hits, three earned runs and two walks with six strikeouts.
The Braves wouldn’t get another hit until Swanson singled in the sixth inning. They got a third hit, an important one, when Johan Camargo hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning after Donaldson reached on an error. Swanson followed with a single for the Braves’ fourth and final hit of the day.
After Soroka departed, the Braves relief corps of Josh Tomlin, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon retired the final 12 consecutive batters over the final four innings, six by strikeout. Melancon got the save.
“It’s been huge,” Soroka said of the recent bullpen production. “Like we’ve said all along, they just needed to find their rhythm. The rest is history. They are doing it day in and day out now. We’ve always had the confidence, and we knew they were always going to do it. Seeing it come together for them is the best part.”
Snitker singled out Tomlin, who worked two innings after Soroka departed.
“What he has done appearance after appearance, whatever the role that we use him in, he is every bit as efficient and can handle pretty much any situation you put him in,” Snitker said. “That was huge today.”
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