MILWAUKEE -- So much for home-field advantage. Six weeks after the Brewers took a two-game Interleague series at Rogers Centre, Ryan Goins and the Blue Jays returned the favor at Miller Park.
Kevin Pillar, Jose Bautista and Devon Travis hit long solo home runs off Brewers starter Matt Garza before Goins connected for a game-breaking grand slam off Oliver Drake, giving the Blue Jays a season-high four homers in an 8-4 win. Toronto won a two-game set that spanned about 20 hours from the first pitch to the last.
Goins entered the series in a 1-for-26 funk before going 4-for-8 with five RBIs against the Brewers.
"He's gotten some pretty big hits for us since [Troy Tulowitzki's] been down," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Goins. "He was in a little bit of a rut, I think because he was playing so much that he was wearing down a little bit. But he picked it back up when we got here. Good for him. He needed it. He got some big hits and helped us win some games, that's for sure."
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman absorbed a complete-game loss against the Brewers when the teams met in Toronto in early April, but scored some revenge Wednesday despite allowing home runs to Brewers outfielders Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana. Stroman bested the Brewers' Garza, who surrendered the first three Jays homers and was charged with six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, ending a streak of four consecutive quality starts.
"I played with fire and tried to pitch up [in the strike zone] to these guys, and got burned," Garza said. "There's always the saying, 'Solo [home runs] don't kill you.' But if you give up three of them, they do."
The Brewers, hanging onto first place in the National League Central, have lost three straight games for the first time since April 21-23.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED On the board with a blast: Garza was perfect for three innings before Pillar broke the ice for the Blue Jays leading off the fourth. His monster solo homer traveled a Statcast-projected 437 feet and left his bat at 107 mph, awakening an offense which struck for eight runs off Garza and Drake in a seven-out span from the fourth inning into the sixth, giving Toronto an 8-1 lead.
"This is a tough ballpark to pitch in. It really flies here," Gibbons said. "The guys have been hanging in there. They haven't been able to knock us out yet. We get some guys back [from the disabled list] and we'll see what we have in us."
Keeping it close: The Brewers stayed within striking distance thanks to Santana, who answered the Blue Jays' five-run strike in the sixth by bouncing a three-run home run off the top of the left-field wall in the bottom of the inning, ending Stroman's afternoon after four earned runs on four hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. After a quiet April, Santana has four home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 22 games.
"Domingo kind of put us back in the game and gave us a chance," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But we just had a little too much to catch up up."
"It just went back to a couple adjustments on the off-day. I thought about why I was struggling, not really feeling a couple things in my swing, and I came here, worked on it [Tuesday] and it ended up working both days. So, good adjustments, I guess." -- Goins, on what fueled his productive series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For the second straight day, a Blue Jays outfielder doubled for his first Major League hit. Anthony Alford's celebration on Tuesday was short-lived because he suffered a broken hamate in a second at-bat Tuesday and landed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday morning. Toronto called up Dwight Smith Jr. to take Alford's place, and Smith doubled off Milwaukee's Wily Peralta as a pinch-hitter in the ninth for his first career hit.
"Besides getting drafted, this is the best moment of my life right now," Smith Jr. said. "I just paid attention, just watched. I took some swings in between innings just to stay loose and once my name was called, it didn't matter who was on the mound, I just tried to get a good pitch to hit."
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have an off-day Thursday, but will return to Rogers Centre for a 10-game homestand on Friday. Mike Bolsinger will take the mound in the first of a three-game series against the Rangers at 7:07 p.m. ET. He's coming off an outing against the Orioles where he allowed four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Brewers: Coming off an encouraging start at San Diego in which he cleared a sixth inning for the first time this season, Zach Davies will be on the mound when the Brewers host the D-backs on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series. Davies' first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.