TORONTO — Curtis Granderson started doing some math in the Blue Jays dugout after Toronto took a 12-run lead against the Baltimore Orioles.
Playing in the 1,849th game of his Major League Baseball career, Granderson was trying to figure out if what Toronto second baseman Devon Travis had just told him was true: that his six RBIs in the Blue Jays’ 13-3 win on Sunday really were the most of his 15-year career.
“I didn’t know that until someone said it to me, and I said ‘Six?’ so I had to do the math to figure out where the six came from,” said Granderson, counting his fingers after the game. “It’s crazy to think that guys have had 10 RBIs in a game or gotten more than that.”
The 37-year-old Granderson has had multiple five RBI games before, with the last coming on April 22, 2016, when his New York Mets beat Atlanta 6-3. On Sunday, he had a single, two doubles and a three-run homer.
Kendrys Morales, Teoscar Hernandez and Kevin Pillar also hit home runs as the Blue Jays (30-35) had a season-high 19 hits to complete a four-game sweep of the Orioles.
The win, coupled with Tampa Bay’s 5-4 loss to Seattle earlier Sunday, moved the Blue Jays ahead of the Rays for third in the AL East. Toronto starts a three-game series in Tampa, Fla., on Monday.
“It’s good to know that, regardless of where we’re at over the course of a season, we’re going to have highs and lows and you’re going to get a reminder that this team is still very good,” said Granderson.
Marco Estrada (3-6) was superb, striking out nine over six-plus innings, allowing two solo home runs. It was Toronto’s fourth consecutive quality start — when a starting pitcher allows three or fewer runs and pitches a minimum of six innings — and Estrada’s second in a row.
“We’re pitching great, we’re pitching the way we’re supposed to,” said Estrada. “We have a really good rotation and it’s showing, as of late. It sucks that we’ve had some ups and downs as the season gone on but we’re starting to find out groove right now and everyone seems to be putting it together.”
Joe Biagni gave up a run in one inning of relief and Tim Mayza had two scoreless innings of work.
Despite the solid perofrmance, Mayza will be optioned down to triple-A Buffalo to make space on the Blue Jays roster for right-handed reliever Preston Guilmet, who Toronto picked up off of waivers from St. Louis on Saturday. Guilmet will join the team in Tampa.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has been out with left calf tightness, won’t play Monday but that Tuesday and Wednesday were possibilities.
Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop each had homers for Baltimore (19-45).
Alex Cobb (2-8) struggled over 3 2/3 innings, giving up nine earned runs on 11 hits, striking out five. Pedro Araujo gave up four runs in his inning of relief, while Mike Wright Jr., and Darren O’Day combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
Toronto was leading 3-1 when a rally in the fourth inning saw the Blue Jays score six more runs.
Granderson drove in the first runs of the inning with a three-run blast with one out for a 6-1 lead. Later in the inning Pillar singled to shallow left field to cash in two more runs and extend the Blue Jays’ lead to 8-1.
Pillar’s RBI single chased Cobb from the game but Araujo also struggled. He issued a walk to Russell Martin, bringing Randal Grichuk up for the second time in the fourth.
Grichuk singled again, driving in Pillar for Toronto’s sixth and final run of the inning, all of them charged to Cobb.
Granderson’s double in the fifth inning earned his sixth RBI of the game and giving Toronto a 10-1 lead. He was brought in by Hernandez’s home run. After Morales flied out, Pillar hit his solo shot for a 13-1 lead.
Schoop led off the seventh with a homer, ending Estrada’s outing with Biagini coming in from the bullpen. He gave up another run on a fielder’s choice.
Notes: Top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, the club announced on Sunday. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press