Woodbine Racetrack Game Report: Solazzo Hits Two Home Runs in Seventh Inning as Leafs Rout Red Sox

by Ryan Eakin

TORONTO - A stat-padding kind of day.

The Toronto Maple Leafs blew out the Brantford Red Sox 18-5 on Sunday afternoon to improve to 23-16 on the season -- clinching home-field advantage through the first round of the playoffs in the process.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to an abysmal 2-36.

Toronto starter Zach Sloan picked up the win after tossing five innings of three-run baseball on four hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.

Maple Leafs third basemen Johnathan Solazzo had himself a day -- and in particular -- a seventh inning to remember, going three-for-four with two home runs, six runs batted in, and a walk, with both home runs -- one of which was a grand slam -- coming in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Not to be outdone was Maple Leafs second basemen Dan Marra, who went four-for-four with two walks.

Brantford starter Kendri Salvador allowed seven earned runs on five hits and a staggering seven walks in four innings pitched. He took the loss for the sixth time this season.

BRANTFORD - 5-7-3

TORONTO - 18-11-2

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Solazzo's grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh -- his second of the inning -- made the biggest impact on the scoresheet, but an honourable mention has to go to his lead-off home run in the seventh, which was the furthest hit ball by a Maple Leaf batter all season long.

DID YOU SEE THAT? Seriously, though. If you didn't get the chance to watch Solazzo's lead-off home run in the bottom of the seventh, please do so.

BY THE NUMBERS...

2. A two RBI game for Maple Leafs designated hitter Dawson Parks, who also hit his first-career extra-base hit in the game.

3. Marcus Knecht got hit three times in the game, with two coming in the same inning and all three coming in three plate appearances in a row. Not to be outdone was Maple Leafs catcher Damon Topolie, who was hit twice.

3. Three walks for Maple Leafs first basemen Justin Marra, who has walked eight times in his last three games.

9. A common theme as of late, but all nine batters in the Leafs lineup reached base at least once.

12. Brantford walked 12 Toronto batters on Sunday. 

INSIDE THE LOCKERROOM... 

Maple Leafs manager Damon Topolie on the win: "We played a good game. We wanted to make sure we could secure fourth place, so it's nice. It was a tough weekend, because playing three-in-three is really tough, so the fact that we grinded it out and took two-of-three is big."

Topolie on getting through the last week of this long, extended season, which means nothing to the team standings-wise: "We just want to get through it healthy. We have had the injury bug hit us lately so we have to make sure we get through this scot-free. Besides that, it's just getting ready for the playoffs."

Topolie on Solazzo's seventh inning: "That's pretty impressive. To hit two home runs in a game is impressive but to do so in one inning, it's pretty amazing."

Topolie on how he feels after catching his first game of the season: "I'm still not sure yet -- I can't feel my toes. I just wanted to give Justin some rest because asking him to catch three-in-three is really tough. I just had to relieve him a little bit."

LOOKING AHEAD...

The Leafs travel to Kitchener on Thursday to battle the Panthers.

Photo: Craig Aikin 

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