Saunders, Martin make Canadian baseball history
A pair of Toronto Blue Jays made Canadian baseball history on Wednesday night in New York.
Michael Saunders and Russell Martin both hit home runs in the seventh inning of Toronto’s 8-4 win over the Yankees, becoming the first pair of Canadian teammates to hit homers in the same inning of a Major League Baseball game.
The accomplishment also marked the first time in Blue Jays history that two Canadians have hit home runs in the same game.
Saunders has had an impressive season for the Blue Jays, hitting nine home runs to go along with 17 runs batted in and a .312 batting average. This is the outfielder’s eighth MLB season and his second with the Blue Jays – although he missed most of last season with an injury.
After a slow start to the 2016 season, Martin has improved his offensive numbers over the past few weeks and is now hitting .181 with 11 RBIs. The veteran catcher’s two home runs on Wednesday were his first of the season.
Both Saunders and Martin have represented Canada at international tournaments in the past. Saunders played for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Martin was on the 2009 WBC Canadian squad that played preliminary round games in Toronto.
A total of six Canadians started the season in the big leagues: Saunders (Toronto), Martin (Toronto), John Axford (Oakland), Jim Henderson (New York Mets), Brett Lawrie (Chicago White Sox) and Joey Votto (Cincinnati).
30 Canadians were taken in the 2015 MLB Draft, including three in the top 57 picks.