Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Remember this guy? Bautista lands big blow

Blue Jays slugger crushes 415-foot HR in Dominicans' rout of Canada
MLB.com

Jose Bautista has arguably become Canada's most beloved player while helping to turn the Blue Jays from also-rans into perennial contenders. On Thursday, however, the slugger inflicted some major damage on the Great White North, slamming a tape-measure home run for Team Dominican Republic as part of its dominant 9-2 victory over Team Canada to open Pool C of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Teammates Jose Reyes and Manny Machado were already aboard with one out when Bautista stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning at Marlins Park. Bautista worked the count to 2-0 against Canada's Dustin Molleken, who had just entered the game in relief. Unfortunately for Molleken, his next fastball caught far too much of the plate and Bautista made him pay, crushing a towering drive high into the night and inside the left-field foul pole to extend the Dominican lead to 8-2.

View Full Game Coverage

Jose Bautista has arguably become Canada's most beloved player while helping to turn the Blue Jays from also-rans into perennial contenders. On Thursday, however, the slugger inflicted some major damage on the Great White North, slamming a tape-measure home run for Team Dominican Republic as part of its dominant 9-2 victory over Team Canada to open Pool C of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Teammates Jose Reyes and Manny Machado were already aboard with one out when Bautista stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning at Marlins Park. Bautista worked the count to 2-0 against Canada's Dustin Molleken, who had just entered the game in relief. Unfortunately for Molleken, his next fastball caught far too much of the plate and Bautista made him pay, crushing a towering drive high into the night and inside the left-field foul pole to extend the Dominican lead to 8-2.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Bautista's blast was a no-doubt barrel, according to Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 107.7 mph and a launch angle of 31 degrees. That would have qualified as the sixth-hardest hit home run for Bautista in 2016, a season in which he tallied 22 round-trippers for Toronto in an injury-marred season. Bautista's majestic homer finally landed a projected 415 feet from home plate, clearing the wall easily at a ballpark notorious for keeping deep fly balls in the yard.

Bautista's home run was part of a terrific night as he finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a walk while batting in the cleanup spot for the Dominican Republic, which next takes the field against the United States on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

"It's a team full of cleanup hitters," Bautista said about being chosen to bat fourth in the lineup. "That released me from the pressure. We know we're all pulling in the same direction, and we will all give our all, and we agreed on that from the first day we practiced. I'm just happy to have been able to contribute."

Video: CAN@DOM: Bautista brings home Reyes with a single

The 36-year-old slugger is eager to re-establish himself after initially struggling to find free-agent suitors this past offseason. Bautista eventually signed a one-year, $18 million deal to return to Toronto in January. He was also grateful for the support from the Dominican-heavy crowd in Miami.

"I thought I was in Quisqueya," Bautista said. "It was great energy from our fans, from our people. When you play for your country, it cannot be compared to many things.

"We felt very good on the field. They transferred that positive energy to us and we were able to perform."

Video: Bautista joins Morosi after win to talk big homer

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays, Dominican Republic, Jose Bautista