Justin Smoak
Donaldson hits walk-off homer in Jays' home finale vs. Rays
Justin Smoak

Donaldson hits walk-off homer in Jays' home finale vs. Rays

Published Sep. 27, 2015 6:11 p.m. ET

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson made certain Toronto's home finale ended on a high note - a high drive over the wall, that is.

Donaldson hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, connecting for No. 41 this year and sending the playoff-bound Blue Jays over Tampa Bay 5-4 Sunday in their final regular season game at Rogers Centre.

Donaldson leads the majors in RBI (122) and runs (121). Colorado's Nolan Arenado entered play Sunday with 121 RBI.

''It was the perfect ending for fan appreciation day,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He's had a tremendous year.''


Donaldson tagged Steve Geltz (2-6) for Toronto's majors-leading 222nd homer this year.

The Blue Jays, already set to make their first postseason appearance since 1993, have a magic number of four to close out the Yankees and clinch the AL East title.

''I wouldn't even say that having the best record (in the AL) is our first goal,'' Donaldson said. ''Our first goal is to win the division.''

Justin Smoak had three hits, including a two-run homer, as the Blue Jays finished an AL-best 53-28 at home.

Brett Cecil (4-5) pitched the top of the ninth, then Donaldson delighted the crowd of 47,287 with his drive.

Facing Geltz, who hadn't pitched since Sept. 20, Donaldson swung and missed on a first-pitch slider.

''I was like `OK, he's real aggressive here. I don't want to give him anything straight to hit,''' Geltz said. ''Then I left one too much in the middle.''

Rays manager Kevin Cash acknowledged it wasn't easy for Geltz to shake off his rust against Toronto's powerful lineup.

''Not the ideal split to stick him into given his lack of workload recently,'' Cash said.

It was the third time this season that Donaldson has delivered a game-ending home run.

''Ever since I was young, I've always looked forward to those big moments in the game,'' Donaldson said. ''I want to be able to come through.''

Brandon Guyer tripled on Mark Buehrle's first pitch of the game and scored on a two-out single by Logan Forsythe as the Rays grabbed an early lead.

Toronto tied it in the bottom half on Smoak's two-out RBI double.

Rays pitchers retired the next 12 batters until Darwin Barney doubled off Enny Romero in the fifth.

After Guyer was hit by a pitch in the third, extending his club record total to 21, Mikie Mahtook followed with his sixth homer.

Toronto cut it to 4-3 against Brandon Gomes in the sixth when Edwin Encarnacion walked and Smoak followed with a second-deck drive to right, his 17th.

The Blue Jays tied it against Alex Colome in the eighth. Smoak singled with one out and was replaced by pinch runner Dalton Pompey. After Dioner Navarro flied out, Pompey stole second and scored on Kevin Pillar's double.

Buehrle allowed four runs and five hits in six innings. He has reached at least 200 innings in 14 straight seasons, and is at 191 1/3 with at least one start remaining.

Making his first start since July 7, right-hander Matt Andriese allowed one run and two hits in three innings. He threw 54 pitches, 33 strikes.


Toronto's regular season finale was the 27th sellout of the season and 12th straight. The Blue Jays sold out 20 of their final 21 home games. Total home attendance was 2,794,891, the most since 1995. The Blue Jays drew 2,375,525 last year.


Donaldson is the second player in Blue Jays history to score 120 runs and drive in 120. Shawn Green did it in 1999.


Rays: Jake McGee pitched first for the first time since Aug. 18. McGee (left knee) was activated off the DL Saturday.

Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (broken left shoulder blade) said he's ''full go'' when it comes to running and throwing, but remains unable to swing the bat without pain. If possible, Tulowitzki said he would like to get into a game before the end of the regular season.


Rays: Tampa Bay is off Monday before opening its final homestand of the season with a three-game series against Miami on Tuesday. LHP Matt Moore (2-4, 6.48 ERA) starts for the Rays against Marlins LHP Adam Conley (4-1, 3.93). Moore beat Boston in his previous start to win for the first time since July 12.

Blue Jays: Toronto begins its last road trip of the season Monday with the opener of a four-game series in Baltimore. RHP Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA) faces Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (10-11, 5.16). Estrada is unbeaten in five starts.


Justin Smoak
Get more from Justin Smoak Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more