TORONTO — Brandon Drury hit a grand slam as part of an eight-run fourth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays cruised past the visiting Texas Rangers 19-4 on Monday night.
Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen also hit home runs as Toronto’s (50-72) offence churned out 21 hits.
Blue Jays rookie sensation Bo Bichette stayed hot, improving his batting average to .400 with four hits, three runs, and a stolen base.
Neil Ramirez threw seven strikes as the one-inning starter for Toronto. He gave way to Brock Stewart, who earned his second win of the season after pitching 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Buddy Boshers and Justin Shafer each pitched an inning and a third, with Shafer allowing a run in the ninth inning.
Nomar Mazara, Willie Calhoun and Rougned Odor each had a solo homer for the Rangers (59-59).
Ariel Jurado (6-8) allowed eight runs on 11 hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings. Adrian Sampson, Brett Martin, Jesse Chavez, Rafael Montero, and catcher Jeff Mathis came out of the bullpen for Texas.
Mazara opened the scoring in the second inning, taking a 1-0 pitch from Stewart over the centre-field wall for his 16th home run of the season.
Drury replied for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the inning, stroking a single to shallow centre field, driving home Grichuk from second base.
Bichette added to that two batters later, cashing in Derek Fisher from third base with a single to right field. Bichette was thrown out at second on the play as he tried to stretch his hit to a double, ending the inning but giving Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Smoak piled on in the third inning, crushing the first pitch he saw from Jurado into the right-field stands for a two-run homer. He also scored Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had singled in the previous at bat.
Four pitches later Grichuk took Jurado to left field for a 5-1 lead, for Toronto’s 10th pair of back-to-back home runs this season.
In the next at bat Teoscar Hernandez hit a double to deep right-centre field, bringing the Rogers Centre crowd of 16,492 to their feet, expecting a third consecutive home run.
Those cheers turned to boos when a video review upheld an out call by umpire Adrian Johnson after Hernandez stole third base.
Guerrero tacked on another run in the fourth, hitting an RBI single to centre field to plate Jansen. That chased Jurado from the mound.
Smoak’s bat continued to hurt the Rangers as his double advanced Guerrero to third and scored Bichette for a 7-1 lead.
In the next at bat, Grichuk’s double over Calhoun’s head in left field cleared the bases, bringing home Smoak and Guerrero to extend Toronto’s lead to eight runs.
A pair of walks by Hernandez and Fisher loaded the bases and brought Drury to the plate for the second time in the inning. His high, arching moon shot almost made the second deck for the first grand slam of his career.
Smoak earned his fourth RBI of the game in the next inning, doubling to left field to score Bichette and give the Blue Jays a 14-1 lead. Grichuk added another run with a groundout to short giving Guerrero ample time to run home.
Toronto’s offence kept rolling in the sixth inning, with Cavan Biggio’s double to right field pushing Jansen and Bichette across the plate for a 17-1 advantage.
The Rangers struck back in the seventh inning, with Calhoun and Odor hitting solo home runs to make it 17-3. Odor was booed during each one of his at bats with Blue Jays fans not forgiving his role in a benches-clearing brawl in 2016 that began when he punched former Toronto slugger Jose Bautista in the jaw.
Jansen hit his 11th home run of the season in the eighth inning, bringing home Fisher and extending Toronto’s lead to 16 runs.
A two-out single by Jose Trevino plated Mazara for the game’s final score.
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press