TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays became the first team to hit eight homers in a game in three years, getting two apiece from Aaron Hill and J.P. Arencibia in a 17-11 victory over the slumping Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Lyle Overbay also connected for the Blue Jays, who lead the majors with 175 homers. Bautista's shot was his major league-best 34th of the season.
It was the most homers in a single game for the Blue Jays since they hit a major league-record 10 against Baltimore on Sept. 14, 1987. Toronto scored in each of the first seven innings and set season highs in runs and hits (20).
The New York Yankees were the last team to hit at least eight homers in a single game, according to STATS LLC, going deep eight times in a 16-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on July 31, 2007, at Yankee Stadium.
The eight homers are the most allowed in a game by the Rays, whose losing streak reached a season-high four. Only the Yankees and San Diego have yet to lose four straight this season.
Called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday, Arencibia homered on the first pitch of his first at-bat, a two-run shot to left in the second. He added another first-pitch homer in the sixth, a solo drive to right off Dale Thayer, and finished with four hits.
Arencibia became the first Blue Jays player to homer in his first career at-bat since Junior Felix on May 4, 1989, against the California Angels.
Hill went 3 for 5 and matched a career high with four RBIs in his first multihomer game.
Rays right-hander James Shields (10-10) became just the eighth pitcher in the modern era to surrender six homers in a single game, and the first since Texas' R.A. Dickey gave up six against Detroit on April 6, 2006.
All nine hits off Shields went for extra bases, including three doubles. He allowed eight runs in four innings to lose for the first time in five starts. The right-hander allowed just five homers in his previous six starts.
The Blue Jays hit three solo shots in the third to build a 6-2 lead. Lind led off with his 15th homer and Hill followed with a drive to left, the ninth time Toronto has hit back-to-back shots. One out later, Encarnacion homered to left, his 12th. It was the 28th time the Blue Jays have hit three homers in an inning.
Bautista led off the fourth with a shot to left and Hill added a two-out drive, his 18th.
Toronto added five more off Thayer in the fifth. Vernon Wells drove in a run with an infield hit, Lind hit a two-run single and Hill followed with a two-run double.
Overbay joined the homer parade with a three-run drive to right off Chad Qualls in the seventh, his 13th
B.J. Upton hit an RBI double and Dan Johnson singled home a run in the third for the Rays, who got three more in the fifth, chasing left-hander Brad Mills. Upton drew a bases-loaded walk, Johnson hit a sacrifice fly and Evan Longoria drove in a run with a grounder.
Johnson hit a two-run homer off Brian Tallet in the seventh, his first.
The Rays scored four in the ninth off two relievers. Reid Brignac hit a sacrifice fly and Travis Snider's throwing error brought in a second run. Gabe Kapler added an RBI double and Willy Aybar drove in a run with a groundout.
NOTES: Rays OF Carl Crawford was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game after playing 11 straight on artificial turf during Tampa Bay's recent homestand. Crawford is expected to return to the lineup Sunday. ... Rays RHP Andy Sonnanstine (left hamstring) could be activated off the 15-day DL Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said.