Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pillar's Walkoff Homer Lifts Blue Jays over Mariners; Toronto Wins 5th Straight

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pillar's Walkoff Homer Lifts Blue Jays over Mariners; Toronto Wins 5th Straight

Article excerpt

Pillar's walkoff homer lifts Jays over Mariners


TORONTO - As Kevin Pillar rounded third, he had one thought on his mind as he ran toward his teammates waiting at home plate: protect his jersey.

Pillar had promised his mom Wendy and his wife Amanda that he'd take a Mother's Day picture with them after Toronto's 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday and he wanted to have his jersey in good shape for the photo op. His two-out, line drive home run in the bottom of the ninth, however, threatened the pristine condition of his jersey.

After touching home plate, Pillar escaped his roughhousing teammates and bolted for the home dugout at Rogers Centre. Still, third baseman Darwin Barney doused him and the jersey with Gatorade during a post-game TV interview.

"I got one of the buttons ripped but I wanted to keep it in as good a shape as possible for the photo," said Pillar. "It was a little orange but, those are memories I'll remember for the rest of my life and we got the photo to commemorate it."

Pillar came to the plate with two outs and the game seemingly headed to extra innings, but the American League's hits leader brought the 42,030 in attendance to their feet with his first career walkoff home run. He's also the first Toronto centre-fielder to hit a walkoff since Vernon Wells did it in July 2006.

Justin Smoak also hit a home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, for the Blue Jays (17-21), who have won five straight. Toronto's four-game sweep of the Mariners was its first since the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins in four straight in August 2015.

"It's a feeling you can't describe. It's just pure joy. It's the top of the mountain for a hitter," said Pillar when asked what it feels like to hit a home run. "To be in the box, put a good swing on it and watch it go over the fence. Look at a guy like Justin Smoak, who's not a real emotional guy, see what a home run does to him."

Aaron Sanchez returned to start after a stint on the 10-day disabled list and allowed one unearned run, five hits and struck out four in five innings pitched. …

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