Donaldson's homer in 10th lifts Blue Jays over Braves 6-5
TORONTO (AP) After waiting 11 games for his first home run with Toronto, Josh Donaldson is quickly making up for lost time.
Donaldson went deep for the third time in two days, belting a leadoff shot in the 10th inning that lifted the Blue Jays to a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
It was the fourth game-ending homer of Donaldson's career.
''As a baseball player, as any competitor, you enjoy moments where you can win the game for your team,'' he said.
Donaldson's drive into the second deck in left was his third hit of the afternoon. The slugger, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland, had two homers in Friday night's 8-7 loss to Atlanta.
Being in the spotlight is nothing new for Donaldson, who hit 29 homers and made the All-Star team last year. But he feels any of his new teammates could have come up with the big hit against the Braves.
''I think what's great about this lineup is it can be anybody any given day,'' he said. ''We have a lot of guys in here that are very capable of shouldering the load and today it was just my turn.''
Danny Valencia went 4 for 4 for Toronto, and Jose Bautista connected for his third homer. Valencia matched his career high for hits, accomplished three other times.
In the Blue Jays' 12th game of the season, particularly after losing three of four in the opening series at home against Tampa Bay, Toronto manager John Gibbons felt this kind of win was coming.
''We've had some opportunities this year at home to maybe make a run late, walk-off type thing,'' he said. ''We've been in a position to do it, but just couldn't come through with it. So we definitely needed that.''
Donaldson connected on the second pitch from rookie Sugar Ray Marimon (0-1), handing Atlanta its first road loss of the season. Brett Cecil (1-1) picked up the win after working a scoreless 10th.
''They swing the bat, you know and you make a mistake or put the ball over the plate and they hit the ball out of the ballpark,'' Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''Today we didn't have enough runs where we could absorb that.''
Down 4-0 in the seventh inning after home runs by Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski, the Blue Jays rallied against Alex Wood.
Bautista belted a two-run shot off Jim Johnson in the eighth, giving Toronto a 5-4 lead, but Kelly Johnson hit a leadoff drive in the ninth for Atlanta.
R.A. Dickey, who is still waiting for his first win of the season after three starts, struggled with his control at times and was pulled after the seventh inning. The knuckleballer was charged with four runs and four hits with four walks.
''You just try to fight with what you've got,'' he said.'' It's been frustrating but at the same time I can't be too displeased with some of the results I've been having.''
Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders (hamstring) was expected to resume his rehab assignment for Single-A Dunedin. Gibbons said the earliest he could rejoin the Blue Jays is next weekend in Tampa Bay.
Braves RHP Shelby Miller (1-0) faces Daniel Norris (1-0) on Sunday. In his second career start in Toronto, Miller will be hoping to replicate last year's success, when he tossed a three-hit shutout as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
HAMMERING THE NL
The home runs for Bautista and Donaldson ran Toronto's total to 144 for interleague play. No other major league club has hit more in interleague games.
Dickey needed 32 pitches to get out of the first inning, giving up a sacrifice fly. The 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner then got a sarcastic round of applause when he threw a first-pitch strike to open the second.