Morales, Martin help Blue Jays beat White Sox to snap skid

June 18, 2017
Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) connects on a two-run home run off Chicago White Sox starter James Shields during sixth inning American League baseball action in Toronto, Sunday, June 18, 2017. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) connects on a two-run home run off Chicago White Sox starter James Shields during sixth inning American League baseball action in Toronto, Sunday, June 18, 2017. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Though Russell Martin isn’t among the home run leaders, he certainly makes them count.

The veteran catcher hit a game-tying homer in the sixth inning to help rally the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Of Martin’s seven home runs, five have either tied the game or given Toronto the lead.

“Timing is everything,” he said of his two-run drive that bounced off the top of the center-field fence and chased Chicago starter James Shields from the game.

Ryan Goins’ first triple of the season two batters later drove in the winning run.

The win snapped Chicago’s three-game winning streak and prevented the White Sox from tying a club record with a seventh consecutive win at Rogers Centre. The White Sox have won nine of the last 11 games and the last four series against the Blue Jays.

Kendrys Morales added a monster home run in the bat-around seventh, a moon shot into the fourth deck of Rogers Centre to give the Blue Jays their 27th multi-home run game of the season. Toronto is 19-8 in those games.

“That’s kind of our DNA,” Martin said. “We love the long ball. Kind of built that way.”

J.A. Happ (2-4) picked up his first home win of the season. In his second-longest start, the left-hander giving up eight hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine. Roberto Osuna worked the ninth.

“The White Sox were playing a great series, played really good defense,” Happ said. “I was just trusting we would do the same and grind back in that ball game and the huge sixth inning there was awesome, Russ with the big hit and we kept going.”

In his first start since April 16, Shields lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs, including the two-run shot from Martin that ended his afternoon. Anthony Swarzak (3-2) took the loss.

Shields tipped his cap to Martin on the tying homer.

“I left it up a little bit but it was off the plate a little bit too and he put a good swing on it and unfortunately it hit the top the wall,” he said.

Melky Cabrera singled and doubled for his seventh multi-hit effort in the last 11 games, while Jose Abreu drove in two runs to extend his hit streak to seven games, marking the fifth consecutive game he has registered at least one RBI.

Despite the loss, manager Rick Renteria was optimistic after witnessing his club post consecutive series victories.

“I know we’re swinging the bats a little better,” he said. “It’s like anything, you get into little grooves and obviously we’ve been in the groove the last six or seven days.”


Coming into Sunday as the American League batting leader with a .337 average, Avisail Garcia had just his second three-strikeout game of the season, going 0 for 4 in the loss.


For the second straight day, the Blue Jays were denied a run due to a ground-rule double. On Saturday, Tulowitzki was held at third on a Goins ground-rule double, only to see the inning end one batter later. On Sunday, it was the turn of Josh Donaldson, who was also held at third in the first inning when Morales drove a double down the left-field line, but was stranded when Justin Smoak grounded out to end the inning.


Leading off the seventh, Donaldson fired a come-backer right back over the mound. Already leading to his left in his follow-through, right-hander Swarzak threw his glove behind his back to knock the ball down, then calmly picked the ball up and threw to first to get the out.


White Sox: Prior to Sunday’s game, Chicago placed RHP Miguel Gonzelez on the 10-day DL, retroactive to June 15, with inflammation in his right shoulder. Gonzalez was 4-8 with a 5.49 ERA over 13 starts. The White Sox also reinstated Shields from the DL after three rehab starts with Triple-A Charlotte. ... LHP Carlos Rodon, out all season with left biceps bursitis, successfully came through his third rehab starts at Charlotte on Saturday. Manager Rick Renteria wants him to have one more start in the minors before making any moves.

Blue Jays: Toronto announced the trade of RHP Jarrett Grube from Triple-A Buffalo to the Columbus Clippers for cash considerations. The 35-year-old was 2-3 with a 6.95 ERA in 11 starts this season, all in Triple-A.


White Sox: After a day off, Chicago will open a three-game series in Minnesota on Tuesday with a matchup between LHP Derek Holland (5-6, 3.79) and RHP Ervin Santana (8-4, 2.56).

Blue Jays: Toronto visits Texas for a four-game series beginning Monday, when RHP Marco Estrada (4-5, 4.54) goes up against RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 3.28).