Toronto Tidbits: The Doctor is in and Hill's homers

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Roy Halladay is back from the disabled list
and set to start tonight against the Rays. Prior to being forced from
his June 12 start after three innings because of a groin injury
Halladay had completed at least seven innings in each of his first 13
outings this season and even after missing nearly three weeks he still
leads the league in wins while ranking among the top 10 in innings.

Meanwhile in Toronto, not only did Aaron Hill’s pair of homers last night
establish a new career-high, he broke the Blue Jays’ single-season
record for homers by a second baseman that was previously held by
Roberto Alomar. Oh, and there are still 85 games remaining on the
schedule.

Hill has already gone deep 19 times in 358 plate appearances after
coming into the season with 28 long balls in 1,900 career trips to the
plate, although perhaps the more amazing thing is that through 32 years
as a franchise no Toronto second baseman had ever hit more than 17
homers.

Toronto’s primary second basemen over the years: Alomar, Damaso
Garcia, Manuel Lee, Homer Bush, Orlando Hudson, and now Hill. Danny
Ainge even started 86 games at second base back in 1979, batting .237
with two homers. Most people would probably guess that Alomar is the
team’s all-time leader in games at second base, but it’s actually
Garcia and he hit just 32 homers in 3,756 plate appearances with the
Blue Jays.

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.