Blue Jays pound Orioles in series finale
Toronto closes out homestand with 7-2 record, climbs 20 games above .500
The Toronto Blue Jays have slugged their way to baseball's biggest turnaround in years.
Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar homered against Chris Tillman, and the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-4 on Sunday to take the rubber match of the three-game set.
AL East-leading Toronto improved to 78-58, becoming the first team since the 2004 Astros to reach 20 games above .500 after having a losing record following the All Star break.
Toronto was 50-51 following a loss to Philadelphia on July 28, the day after the Blue Jays acquired Tulowitzki from Colorado. Two days later, Toronto added left-hander David Price in a deal with Detroit.
"We've been playing great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The winning all started after (general manager Alex Anthopoulos) made those trades."
Tulowitzki and Bautista each had a two-run shot, and Pillar belted a solo drive. Josh Donaldson drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, raising his major league-leading total to 114 RBI.
Toronto leads the majors with 189 homers and 746 runs. It has scored 10 or more 22 times this season, a club record.
Marco Estrada (12-8) pitched five innings for his first win in three starts. He allowed two runs and two hits, struck out four and walked four.
The slumping Orioles lost for the 14th time in 17 games.
Tillman is 0-4 with a 15.50 ERA in five starts against Toronto this season and has given up nine home runs. He has fared even worse in three starts north of the border, allowing 19 runs. His ERA at Rogers Centre this season is 19.73.
"It's not something they're doing as much as where Chris is getting the ball," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's trying to go down and away and the ball leaks middle in and you're going to pay that price every time."
In 21 starts against other opponents this season, Tillman is 9-7 with a 3.66 ERA, allowing nine home runs. He is 4-10 with a 6.02 ERA in 19 career starts against the Blue Jays.
"It's a tough lineup," Tillman said. "It's a lineup where you have to execute consistently. I'd make two or three good pitches in a row and then I'd make a mistake and they'd make me pay."
The first four batters got hits off Tillman. Ben Revere singled and scored on Donaldson's double to left. Bautista homered for the second straight day, his 33rd, and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single.
Tulowitzki connected in the third for his fifth homer since joining Toronto. Pillar chased Tillman with a leadoff drive in the fourth, becoming the seventh Blue Jays batter to reach double-digit homers.
The Blue Jays added three more in the sixth against Chaz Roe. Donaldson hit a sacrifice fly before Bautista and Encarnacion each hit RBI doubles.
"With very few exceptions, we didn't make many good pitches," Showalter said.