TORONTO — Despite hitting two home runs and driving in five runs, the scariest thing about Josh Donaldson might just be that the best is yet to come.

After going 4 for 5 to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox that snapped a five-game home losing streak, the All-Star third baseman insists he’s finally rounding into form.

“Honestly, I haven’t felt right all year,” he said. “I’ve been kind of grinding, trying to get there. Maybe at some points trying to do too much at times. A couple days ago, I was starting to feel it and I was kind of getting excited about it.”

The pair of homers, his 12th and 13th, represent the same number that he had on May 27 last year, his AL MVP-winning season, though he is six RBI shy of his 2015 pace.

As far as Manager John Gibbons is concerned, the 30-year-old Donaldson can do no wrong, particularly when he is almost single-handedly dragging his team across the victory line.

“He’s a special player,” Gibbons said. “He can beat you so many ways – with the bat, with the glove, things like that.”


With slugger Jose Bautista out of the lineup, serving his one-game suspension following his role in the benches-clearing brawl in Texas earlier this month after his appeal was overturned, it was left to others to do the heavy lifting.

Donaldson got the Blue Jays on the board with a solo shot off Boston starter Joe Kelly over the electronic scoreboard in right-center field in the first inning, and finished up with a two-run line drive that crept inside the right-field foul pole in the eighth.

Justin Smoak added a solo shot in the fifth inning, and Ezequiel Carrera, playing in place of Bautista, scored twice in the victory.

Boston Manager John Farrell, the former Blue Jays skipper, said the only way to stop Donaldson might be to walk him.

“If the first base is open, yeah, four wide ones the way he swung tonight,” Farrell said. “But he’s such a good player, and does it in critical moments as we saw.”

Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez allowed three runs and five hits and struck out six in 62/3 innings. Joe Biagini (2-1) got four outs for the win, and Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 11th save.

Kelly lasted just 42/3 innings, giving up five runs, nine hits and three walks, striking out eight. Koji Uehara (2-2) worked the eighth inning, allowing Carrera to reach on a bunt before surrendering the winning home run to Donaldson, two pitches after he had just missed in crushing a ball foul into the fifth deck of Rogers Centre.

“He obviously had a good day against Joe Kelly and then obviously Koji comes in with I think probably a 10 mph difference and he hit it out,” said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who extended his hitting streak to 20. “He’s a good player and he put a good swing on that one.”

NOTES: Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who has more home runs (39), doubles (33), RBI (104) and extra-base hits (72) than any visiting player in Rogers Centre history, was given the night off, with Hanley Ramirez taking his place in the lineup. Ramirez is 10 for 21 with seven RBI as a DH in 2016.

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