Bautista's 2 HRs nearly save Blue Jays' streak
Right fielder goes deep in first and knots game in ninth
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays' 11-game winning streak came to an end on Monday, but Jose Bautista had a night to remember with a pair of home runs that almost single-handledly stole a game away from the Mets.
Bautista always seems to perform well on the big stage in New York, and the series opener at Citi Field was no different. The veteran slugger hit a pair of solo homers, including one during the ninth inning off closer Jeurys Familia that forced extras in a game Toronto went on to lose, 4-3, in 11 innings.
It marked the second multi-homer game of the year for Bautista and his 23rd as a member of the Blue Jays. The disappointing result somewhat spoiled what otherwise had been a positive night, but Bautista insists the clubhouse isn't going to be overly concerned about one game.
"It's a tough loss [but] I don't think it will affect us too much," said Bautista, who has 14 home runs over 56 career games in the city of New York. "The attitude is still great around here, it was just one game.
"Obviously we would have liked to continue the streak, but you lose some games that even if you play good baseball -- like today -- we have to turn the page, show up tomorrow and hopefully start a new one."
Bautista's first home run of the game occurred in the top of the first inning with right-handed phenom Noah Syndergaard on the mound for New York. Syndergaard unloaded a 98 mph fastball that Bautista sent over the wall in left at an even higher velocity.
The no-doubt shot to left went into the second deck and was projected by Statcast™ to land 449 feet away, leaving the bat at 109 mph with a launch angle of 26 degrees. That wasn't the start to the game that Syndergaard had in mind, but he quickly settled down and was dominant the rest of the way.
Syndergaard finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowed just two hits and two walks over six innings. The lone run Syndergaard surrendered came on Bautista's homer, and afterward the veteran hitter had nothing but praise for one of the game's up-and-coming potential stars.
"He's a good pitcher, he's got great stuff," Bautista said of the former Toronto prospect. "I was lucky that he kept missing early in the count, falling behind. I took that walk and obviously I hit two balls with good hitter's counts, I hit them both well. One ended up being a home run and the other one was just grounded to shortstop.
"He definitely has a lot of movement, extremely hard fastball, a good curveball and a pretty good changeup. ... His offspeed definitely keeps you in check and then he can go to work with his heater. He did a great job today, that's why they ended up winning because he kept them in the ballgame."
Bautista's second of the game came in the top of the ninth off Familia. With Toronto trailing by one, Bautista sent the first pitch he saw over the wall in right to force extra innings. The 34-year-old has 33 home runs during Interleague Play since 2010, which leads the Major Leagues.
As for Syndergaard, there would have been a time when he expected to play alongside Bautista in Toronto. That long-term plan changed when the Blue Jays traded the 2010 Draftee with catcher Travis d'Arnaud for R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole.
That left Syndergaard having to match up against one of the game's elite hitters, and it was still on his mind after the game.
"My ears are still ringing from that home run he hit off me," Syndergaard said.
New York's overpowering righty isn't the first pitcher to experience that and he certainly won't be the last.