Blue Jays hammer Phillies

PHILADELPHIA — Marco Estrada has reached the point where he doesn’t need his best stuff to pitch well. Estrada had another sharp outing, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson hit solo homers and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 on Wednesday night. Estrada (5-2) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out five in 6 2-3 innings.

Blue Jays 7 Phillies 2

PHILADELPHIA — Marco Estrada has reached the point where he doesn’t need his best stuff to pitch well.

Estrada had another sharp outing, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson hit solo homers and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 on Wednesday night.

Estrada (5-2) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out five in 6 2-3 innings.

“It was a battle for him tonight,” Jays manager John Gibbons said. “They have pesky hitters. He might have the best changeup in baseball. He has different weapons. He can throw anything at any time.”

Estrada has held opponents to five hits or fewer in 10 straight starts, extending his team record.

“I didn’t have my best, but I gave it everything, tried to hit the glove every time,” Estrada said. “Wasn’t the greatest of games, but a lot of great defence helped me. J.D. (Donaldson) made two great ones.”

Cody Asche had a homer, two doubles and drove in both runs for the Phillies, who have lost six of seven and 19 of 25. Jeremy Hellickson (4-5) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.

The Blue Jays scored three runs to take a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Hellickson walked Donaldson and Encarnacion to start the inning. After a double steal, Russell Martin’s sacrifice fly made it 2-1. Ryan Goins hit an RBI single with two outs and Devon Travis followed with a run-scoring double.

“You walk the first two guys in an inning, you’re just asking for trouble,” Hellickson said.

Donaldson connected off Hector Neris in a three-run eighth, sending his 16th homer deep to left after a knockdown pitch. He made two outstanding plays at third base, including a long throw from several feet beyond the foul line to rob Hellickson of a hit.

“I take a lot of pride in defence like all the guys on our team,” Donaldson said. “It’s fun to make those plays behind your pitcher. It’s something I came into the season trying to be better at. Defence is fun.”

Encarnacion hit a 1-2 pitch off the facing of the second deck in left field for his 17th homer leading off the second. He has five homers in the last four games.

“Eddie is locked in pretty good,” Gibbons said. “You give him something to hit and he’s going to hit it.”

Asche answered with a long drive of his own, hitting his second homer into the second deck in right field in the bottom half.

Asche’s RBI double in the fourth cut the deficit to 4-2.

STANDINGS

Blue Jays (37-31) are a season-high six games over .500 while the Phillies (30-36) are a season-worst six games under .500.

BULLPEN BOUND

Gibbons said the team still plans to move Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen at some point this season no matter his success as a starter. Sanchez is 6-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 outings. He’s thrown 85 1/3 innings and the team has him on an innings limit.

SLUMPING

Phillies cleanup hitter Tommy Joseph was 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders wasn’t in the lineup a day after he left in the third inning because of tightness in his right hamstring. … SS Troy Tulowitzki is expected to play in a rehab game for Single-A Dunedin on Thursday. He’s been out since May 27 with a sore right quadriceps.

Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco didn’t start for the third straight game because of a sprained right knee. He struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the game.

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