With the Blue Jays wearing their red uniforms on Canada Baseball Day at Rogers Centre, the Toronto third baseman hit three home runs for a hat trick in a 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Fans threw hats on the field after Donaldson’s third homer in the eighth inning for the Jays, who completed the three-game sweep.
“It’s one of those things, as a baseball player, you want to happen one day,” said Donaldson of hitting three homers in a single game. “You don’t know it it’s ever going to happen, it’s kind of a rare thing [and] I was happy to do it.”
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“You can start to see it at the beginning of this home stand, he was just missing some pitches, he just skied a couple breaking balls,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “He’s capable of that, we have a few guys who are capable of doing something like that, it’s a rare feat.”
The 30-year-old Donaldson followed that by completing the trifecta with a solo shot to dead centre in the eighth, his 33rd. The third baseman’s first career three home run game helped Toronto rally from a 5-2 deficit after coming back from a 5-0 deficit Saturday.
“I’ve never had a curtain call before so that was nice. I tried to enjoy it for a second,” Donaldson said.
Bautista led off the first with a double as Twins’ outfielders Robbie Grossman and Danny Santana collided, allowing it to drop in. Edwin Encarnacion later drove in Bautista with a sacrifice fly giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. Santana left the game with a left shoulder sprain as a result of the collision and was replaced by Eddie Rosario in centre field.
Donaldson made up for his ninth error of the season almost immediately, smoking a Gibson offering into the second deck in left in the bottom half. The third baseman’s 31st homer of the year gave the Jays a 2-1 lead.
Dickey ran into trouble in the fifth giving up a one-out single to Rosario, followed by walking Dozier and Joe Mauer to load up the bases for Kepler once again. The 23-year-old rookie tied up the game for the second time on a fielder’s choice RBI. With two outs, Trevor Plouffe and Miguel Sano delivered clutch RBI singles as Minnesota stretched their lead to 5-2.
Tulowitzki responded by leading off the sixth with his 22nd homer of the season, a no-doubter over the centre field wall. Pillar followed with a double and came around to score on a Devon Travis’ RBI single, making it 5-4.
Joe Mauer hit an RBI single in the ninth off Roberto Osuna to make it 9-6.