Morales homers again, Blue Jays fall to Phillies 8-3
TORONTO (AP) — Kendrys Morales swatted his way to the brink of baseball history Sunday.
The Blue Jays slugger homered in a franchise-record seventh consecutive game in Toronto’s 8-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Morales is the seventh player in major league history to have a streak this long. He’s one short of matching the record held by Ken Griffey Jr., Dale Long and Don Mattingly.
Morales will try to match that trio when he faces Baltimore’s David Hess on Monday night. Morales has already connected off Hess in his current streak, hitting a solo home run off the Orioles right-hander in a 6-0 Toronto win last Wednesday.
“It’s pretty impressive,” manager John Gibbons said of Morales’ streak. “It’d be something if he gets (the record). I don’t think any of us can comprehend how hard it is to do.”
Morales said staying quiet at the plate has helped his power surge.
“I’m not moving too much,” he said through a translator. “Either fastball or off-speed, I’m seeing the ball pretty well because I’m sitting back ”
Morales said the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, has requested one of his bats from the streak.
“I’m really happy they want my bat,” Morales said. “It’s amazing what I’ve been doing.”
He has 21 homers on the season and has hit safely in 10 straight games. He’s batting .500 (17 for 34) with eight homers and 15 RBI in that stretch.
The Phillies went on their own homer binge, connecting for four on Sunday.
Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana went back-to-back in the first inning while Maikel Franco and Wilson Ramos each had two-run shots.
“There was a noticeable energy change in the dugout from yesterday to today,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our guys sensed the urgency of today’s game.”
Right-hander Vince Velasquez (9-9) allowed two runs and three hits in five innings for the victory as Philadelphia won for the second time in eight games, erasing the painful memories of Saturday’s 8-6 defeat. The Phillies began the day three games behind Atlanta in the NL East, and two games out in the wild card race.
“Everybody was just a little bit more intense, a little bit sharper focus,” Hoksins said. “Everybody got here this morning and realized that this was a big game. Obviously they’re all big but this one in particular felt a little bit bigger, especially after a tough loss yesterday.”
Ramos had four hits. He singled in the first, doubled home a run in the second, singled in the sixth and homered off Tyler Clippard in the eighth, his 15th.
“The guy is raking,” Velasquez said. “He’s on fire.”
Luis Garcia, Hector Neris, Tommy Hunter, and Seranthony Dominguez each pitched one inning of relief.
Hoskins reached base four times as the Phillies ended Toronto’s season-long winning streak at five.
“We swung the bats from the very beginning of the game and stayed on them, never took our foot off the gas pedal,” Kapler said.
Estrada (7-10) allowed five runs and seven hits in two-plus innings. He said afterward he has been bothered by a sore back for several few weeks.
TULO TALKS 2019
One day after he was ruled out for the season, Troy Tulowitzki said he intends to reclaim his role as Toronto’s starting shortstop next year. “If someone’s better than me, I’ll pack my bags and go home,” said Tulowitzki, who had surgery in April to remove bone spurs from both heels. The oft-injured Tulowitzki has not played since July 2017, when he seriously injured his right ankle in a collision at first base. The five-time All-Star has missed at least 30 games in seven straight seasons and eight of the past nine.
Phillies: OF Roman Quinn (sore left hamstring) was not available. Quinn’s injury is not considered serious.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (strained left calf) had the contents of his locker in Toronto delivered to him at the team’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., where he is working out. In a statement, Donaldson said he wanted all his equipment on hand before starting a rehab assignment. Donaldson has been out since May 28.
Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (9-4, 3.93) starts as Philadelphia returns home to begin a three-game series against Wahsington. RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-7, 4.23) starts for the Nationals.
Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-6, 4.94) starts the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore. Gaviglio snapped a 5-start winless streak by beating Baltimore last Tuesday. Hess is 2-8 with a 5.50 ERA.
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