Donaldson Drives In Five As Jays out Phillies

TORONTO – Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays gave Zach Eflin a rough welcome to the big leagues.

Donaldson hit a grand slam while driving in five runs Tuesday as the Blue Jays blew out Philadelphia 11-3 in the second game of the four-game home-and-home interleague series between the squads.

“Today, I felt like it was a total team effort, up and down the lineup, we did a great job of driving the ball and getting some guys on base and doing a good job with runners in scoring position,” said Donaldson.

The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player went 3-for-4 with two doubles to go along with his grand slam while scoring three runs.

Toronto’s bats came alive, pounding out 14 hits after being shutout by Philadelphia 7-0 on Monday night.

At the receiving end of the offensive barrage was Elfin, a 22-year-old making his first major-league start.

Elfin gave up nine runs (eight earned), and nine hits in an appearance mercifully cut short at 2 2/3 innings. Still, the former first-round pick of the San Diego Padres found positives in the shelling.

“It was awesome,” Eflin said. “I was obviously leaving some pitches up and big-league hitters are going to capitalize on that. It still was a dream come true. I was out there in front of 50,000 people playing the game that I love.”

Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (6-2), who had a 7.58 earned-run average in his past three starts, gave up just give six hits and two runs, while striking out six over seven strong innings.

“I felt a lot better there, I think the work we have been putting in starts, over the last few starting to take shape,” Stroman said. “It’s not exactly where I want to be, but looking forward to the next one.”

Toronto (36-31) has now won four of their past five, scoring 36 runs in the process while looking more and more like last year’s playoff team.

Philadelphia (30-35) has lost five of its last six games.

Eflin started off strong by striking out Jose Bautista in the first. However, the Florida native followed that up by giving up an opposite field double off the wall to Donaldson, who came around to score on a two-out RBI single by Martin.

More runs came in the second. Eflin gave up a home run to Kevin Pillar to start the inning, and Donaldson later drove in Bautista with his second double of the day, making it 3-0.

The Blue Jays continued their domination of the right-hander in the third, as Ezequiel Carrera hit a two-run home run that just cleared the right-field wall. After singles by Pillar and Devon Travis and a Bautista walk, Donaldson hit his second grand slam of the season and 15th homer of the year into the second deck.

“This was his major-league debut and I suppose was a little nervous,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. “He just made a lot of bad pitches, he normally locates a lot better than he did. He was just up in the zone with all his pitches and got hit. Sorry to see his debut turn out that way but this is a good lineup and he can’t make mistakes to them.”

Darwin Barney pinch-hit for Michael Saunders later in the inning. Saunders left the game for precautionary reasons due to right hamstring tightness, the Jays said.

Ryan Goins, who was playing shortstop, moved to left field to replace Saunders. It was the fifth time Goins played outfield at the major-league level.

Stroman’s only blemishes came in the sixth and seventh innings. Former Blue Jay Jimmy Paredes knocked in an RBI double cutting the lead to 9-1 in the sixth, while Phillies No. 9 hitter Cesar Hernandez hit a solo home run in the seventh making it 9-2.

Toronto Manager John Gibbons was impressed with the 25-year-old’s bounce-back outing.

“I thought his breaking ball was much better today, and (he) threw a few good changeups, and he was into it, he looked confident,” said Gibbons. “That was a really good outing for him.”

Edwin Encarnacion, who missed Monday’s game with a sore finger, drilled a two-run home run to centre field making it 11-2 in the seventh inning. Encarnacion’s sixteenth home run of the season propelled his RBI total to 56, good for first in the majors.

Andres Blanco added a RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth for the Phillies to cap the scoring.

The Blue Jays and Phillies continue their four-game series Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Marco Estrada (4-2) will take on Jeremy Hellickson (4-4)

Toronto designated LHP Scott Diamond for assignment after the game and optioned LHP Aaron Loup to Buffalo. Corresponding moves will be made tomorrow.