Blue Jays Powering Up On Homestand

DUNEDIN – The Blue Jays head into Saturday night’s game against Atlanta having hit 11 home runs in the first three games of their five-game home stand.

Each of the Jays’ six home runs in Friday night’s 13-5 win over the Braves at TD Ballpark was of the no-doubt-about-it variety.

Only one homer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s 395-foot moonshot to left, landed less than 400 feet away.

Leading the assault was Alejandro Kirk, who entered the game with two homers and seven RBIs in 59 career at-bats. The 22-year-old catcher drilled two-run home runs in consecutive innings. His fourth-inning blast traveled 428 feet over the wall in left center and his fifth-inning rocket hit the batter’s eye and was estimated at 435 feet.

Kirk’s first homer, which gave the Jays a 5-0 lead, came on a 3-0 pitch from Atlanta lefty Drew Smyly.

“It’s great when you get the pitch you are looking for,” said Kirk. “It was the first time I swung 3-0 and I had the green light. I wasn’t expecting the green light. I was very happy when they gave it to me and I was trying to put good contact on the ball. Thank God I hit a homer.”

Teoscar Hernandez, fresh off the IL, Bo Bichette and Randal Grichuk also homered.

It was that kind of night and it has been that kind of homestand for the Blue Jays so far. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s three-homer (and 7 RBI) effort Tuesday night in a 9-5 win over the Nationals was a performance nobody will soon forget. In Wednesday night’s series finale against the Nats, Gurriel and Bichette homered in an 8-2 loss.

Friday night’s outburst gives Toronto 35 home runs in 24 games, good for fourth in the majors and second in the American League behind the Yankees’ 37. New York has played two more games.

The Braves and Reds lead MLB with 38 home runs. Atlanta, which got a four-bagger from Ozzie Albies on Friday night, has played 26 games and Cincinnati 25.

Robbie Ray, who was the recipient of the considerable run support in the series opener against the Braves, and who faced the minimum 20 batters through 6 2/3 innings (he allowed one hit) before being touched for a couple of runs in the seventh, summed it up: “It was really fun to watch.”

Tom Layberger is also a contributing writer for forbes.com.

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.