Jose Bautista’s Bat, Glove Bury Red Sox

Jose Bautista had one of the best games in his career on Saturday, as he delivered two home runs – career homers 200, and 201 – and cut down a runner at the plate, as the Toronto Blue Jays slugged their way to a 6-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, 6-2, at Fenway Park.

Felix Doubront pitched well for the Red Sox and pitched into the seventh inning, but was on the losing end of a 2-0 affair when he finally did depart.  He allowed an RBI single to Adam Lind in the first inning, but recovered nicely to pitch four scoreless frames until he met Bautista in the top of the sixth, when the veteran masher launched a 2-0 offering over the Monster and out of Fenway Park for his 200th career home run.

Doubront pays no mind to Jose Bautista, beginning his home-run trot on career dinger 200.

Doubront pays no mind to Jose Bautista, beginning his home-run trot on career dinger 200.

As well as Doubront was throwing, the Sox bats could do nothing against the Blue Jays rightie Esmil Rogers, who went six scoreless innings, limiting the Sox to just six hits and one walk. Boston was just 1-8 against Rogers with Runners in Scoring Position, with the one hit being a Dustin Pedroia single in the sixth after Shane Victorino’s lead-off double. The single was sharply hit enough that Bautista was able to come up with the ball in right fairly quickly, and deliver a strike to catcher J.P. Arencibia, who was blocking the plate fearlessly. Victorino was out by a couple steps, and Arencibia held on to the ball at home for the rally-killing out.

Asked later if the home runs or the assist was more important, Bautista didn’t hesitate, ‘‘It’s more difficult and more rare to throw people out on the bases,’’ he said. ‘‘Anytime I do that I enjoy it a lot more.’’

Darren Oliver relieved Rogers for the seventh, and the Sox were finally able to break through, although it came at a cost of more potential runs.  After back-to-back singles to leadoff the frame by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias – with Salty moving to third on Maicer Izturis’ throwing error – the Sox were cooking with runners on the corners with nobody out.  Jonathan Diaz, an eight year career minor leaguer making his MLB debut, then stepped to the plate as a squeeze play was called.  Diaz’s bunt appeared to be a good one, going to the right of the pitcher’s mound as the leftie Oliver fell to the left of the mound after his delivery.  Oliver, however, recovered quickly as the ball died before it could make it past the mound, and made a nice bare-hand throw to home to cut down Saltalamacchia at the plate.

Steve Delabar then relieved Oliver, but was met with consecutive singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Victorino, with the latter scoring Iglesias and Diaz to tie the score 2-2.

Any jubilation at finally getting into the game would be short-lived as Junichi Tazawa immediately relinquished the stalemate following a leadoff single by Jose Reyes, and Bautista’s second homer of the afternoon, another no-doubter at 417 feet. It would prove to be the deciding tally as the Sox’ two runs would be all they could muster.

The Jays put the game away an inning later off Craig Breslow when Mike Napoli’s throwing error put Arencibia on second following an infield hit.  Two batters later, Jose Reyes delivered the two-out RBI single to make it 5-2 Blue Jays.  Another error, this one by Diaz, allowed the speedy Reyes to score from first, but the inning mercifully ended after Bautista was caught in a rundown. Neil Wagner needed just 12 pitches to retire the Sox in the ninth, as Ellsbury’s double-play grounder prompted the Blue Jays victory handshakes.

The Red Sox will go for the series win Sunday afternoon when Ryan Dempster looks to continue his streak of six straight quality starts. The Jays will counter with veteran Mark Buehrle, who has struggled badly in his first season north of the border.


Inside The Game

-Dustin Pedroia had his fifth multi-hit game in his last six, raising his average from .305 to .325.  Look for him to make his fourth trip to the MLB All-Star Game.

-The Sox were without Stephen Drew, who is 6-15 over his last four games with two doubles and three triples. Drew’s sore hamstring will keep him out in the finale Sunday as well.

-Jose Iglesias went 1-4 to lower his average to a puny .414, if only sarcasm could be translated to the page.

-Jose Bautista slugged his 200th and 201st career home runs. Of them, 142 have come in his last four seasons after a somewhat disappointing first six seasons produced just 59 round-trippers.


Jay Coorey – Senior MLB Contributor – Title Town Sports


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