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Bautista busts slump with style, lifts Blue Jays

Slugger homers twice, including winner, and throws runner out at plate

BOSTON -- Maybe it was all about the pants.

In the midst of a slump that saw Jose Bautista hit .182 with seven extra-base hits in June, the slugger decided to make a change.

Full Game Coverage

BOSTON -- Maybe it was all about the pants.

In the midst of a slump that saw Jose Bautista hit .182 with seven extra-base hits in June, the slugger decided to make a change.

Full Game Coverage

He hiked up his socks, and because none of his trousers fit the new style, he borrowed a pair of pitcher R.A. Dickey's pants on Saturday before taking on the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

After hitting two home runs and throwing a player out at the plate in the Blue Jays' 6-2 win over Boston, don't expect the style to go anywhere soon.

So much for a slump.

His second blast of the game, which came on a 2-1 pitch from Junichi Tazawa, broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning and lifted the Blue Jays to victory.

After losing the first two games of the series, Toronto now has a chance to salvage a series split with a win Sunday.

Bautista, whose homers were the 200th and 201st of his career, had three RBIs and also threw Shane Victorino out at home in the sixth inning.

"That's who he is," manager John Gibbons said. "He's been cold over the last few weeks. He's got some big hits along the way, some big home runs. But that's a good sign today. Maybe that will get him going consistently, and that's going to make us better."

Whether the pants are to thank or not, Bautista feels he might have finally found a rhythm.

"I had a good day in the cage and good BP, so I felt like I had more rhythm than days past," he said. "I was able to lay off some tough pitches and get the ones over the plate. And when I swung, I didn't miss them, so it was a good day."

Bautista's heroics were too late to give Esmil Rogers the win, but the starter certainly did his part to put Toronto in position for victory.

The right-hander was sharp over six innings, holding the potent Red Sox scoreless while striking out six and walking one.

He scattered six hits against a Boston lineup that had combined for 24 in the first two games of the series.

"That's what he's capable of," Gibbons said. "We've seen that a few times since he's been in the rotation. He's got the great arm, and he's got the good breaking pitches, too. That's a tough hitting team, so I tip my hat to him."

By lasting through the fourth inning, Rogers managed to accomplish what Chien-Ming Wang and Josh Johnson -- Toronto's starters for the first two games of the series -- failed to do. The pair combined to give up 12 runs over just five innings in the two losses and struggled against a patient Boston lineup.

For the most part, Rogers avoided their pitfalls. To counteract Boston's patient approach, he threw strikes early in the count and nibbled on the corners after he was ahead.

"You've got to attack those guys and come in the zone early," Gibbons said. "That changes everything. It puts them on the defensive a little bit, and then you can come in the zone and expand late when you're ahead late."

Rogers said he lost faith in his breaking pitches during his last outing -- a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay -- but the right-hander routinely came back to his breaking ball in tough spots Saturday.

The biggest threat came in the sixth inning, when Shane Victorino led off with a double. Dustin Pedroia then slapped an opposite-field single to right field. The speedy Victorino broke for home, but a laser throw from Bautista beat him to the plate and saved a crucial run after a collision. David Ortiz lined a base hit up the middle, but Rogers struck out Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava to escape the jam.

It wasn't the first time defense saved Rogers. In the fifth inning, center fielder Colby Rasmus made a diving catch on a sinking liner from Jonathan Diaz, who was making his Major League debut, with a runner on second.

"Unbelievable plays," Rogers said. "Both Bautista and Colby, both plays [would've] cost me a run, so I don't know how I'm going to repay that."

With the Blue Jays leading, 2-0, in the seventh, Steve Delabar gave up a bases-loaded single to Victorino that tied the game. The runs were charged to Darren Oliver, who had allowed a pair of singles before making a nice play to throw Jarrod Saltalamacchia out at home on a safety squeeze laid down by Diaz.

For the second straight game, the seventh inning was costly for the Toronto bullpen.

Luckily for the relievers, Bautista's power surge bailed them out.

His two homers marked the 21st time in his career that he's gone deep more than once in a game and the first time he's done so since June 10 against the White Sox.

"Very good player," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Obviously capable of hitting balls out of the ballpark every time he steps to the box."

The Blue Jays tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the ninth inning, and Neil Wagner pitched a scoreless bottom half to secure the win.

Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for


Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista, Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver, Colby Rasmus, Esmil Rogers