PHILADELPHIA—Marco Estrada has reached the point where he doesn’t need his best stuff to pitch well.
Estrada had another sharp outing, and Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson hit solo homers, as the Toronto Blue Jays dumped the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 last night.
Estrada (5-2) allowed two runs and four hits while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings.
“It was a battle for him tonight,” noted Jays’ manager John Gibbons. “They have pesky hitters.
“He might have the best change-up in baseball,” Gibbons added.
“He has different weapons. He can throw anything at any time.”
Estrada now has held opponents to five hits or fewer in 10-straight starts, extending his team record.
“I didn’t have my best but I gave it everything, tried to hit the glove every time,” Estrada noted.
“Wasn’t the greatest of games but a lot of great defence helped me,” he added.
“‘J.D.’ [Donaldson] made two great ones.”
Cody Asche had a homer, two doubles, and drove in both runs for the Phillies, who now have lost six-of-seven and 19-of-25.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-5) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.
The Jays scored three runs to take a 4-1 lead in the fourth.
Hellickson walked Donaldson and Encarnacion to start the inning. Then after a double steal, Russell Martin’s sacrifice fly made it 2-1.
Ryan Goins hit an RBI single with two outs before Devon Travis followed with a run-scoring double.
“You walk the first two guys in an inning, you’re just asking for trouble,” Hellickson said.
Donaldson connected off Hector Neris in a three-run eighth—sending his 16th homer deep to left after a knockdown pitch.
He also made two outstanding plays at third base, including a long throw from several feet beyond the foul line to rob Hellickson of a hit.
“I take a lot of pride in defence like all the guys on our team,” Donaldson noted.
“It’s fun to make those plays behind your pitcher,” he added. “It’s something I came into the season trying to be better at.
“Defence is fun.”
Encarnacion hit a 1-2 pitch off the facing of the second deck in left field for his 17th homer leading off the second.
He has five homers in the last four games.
“Eddie is locked in pretty good,” Gibbons said. “You give him something to hit and he’s going to hit it.”
Asche answered with a long drive of his own—hitting his second homer into the second deck in right field in the bottom half.
His RBI double in the fourth cut the deficit to 4-2.
The Jays (37-31) are a season-high six games over .500 while the Phillies (30-36) are a season-worst six games under.
Colorado doubled the N.Y. Yankees 6-3 and Houston beat St. Louis 4-1 in other interleague action yesterday.
In AL play, L.A. dumped Minnesota 10-2, Boston beat Baltimore 6-4, Tampa Bay edged Seattle 3-2 (13 innings), Chicago downed Detroit 5-3, Kansas City upended Cleveland 9-4, and Texas topped Oakland 7-5.