Bautista's homer leads Jays to win

Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista (left) is congratulated by teammates Corey Patterson (centre) and...

Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista (left) is congratulated by teammates Corey Patterson (centre) and Yunel Escobar after Bautista hit a three-run home run against the Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash. on April 13, 2011. (ANTHONY BOLANTE/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:42 PM ET

SEATTLE — It was payback time for the Blue Jays.

Having been crushed in Monday night’s meltdown when they coughed up a 7-0 lead, the Jays mounted a late-inning comeback of their own Wednesday afternoon.

Trailing 2-1 entering the eighth, Jose Bautista crushed a 2-1 pitch from Chris Ray with two aboard to power the Jays to an 8-3 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

It was a big victory for the slumping Jays, who moved to 2-4 on their road trip which takes them to Boston for a four-game set beginning Friday.

After blowing a 7-0 lead in the late innings in Monday’s opener, the Jays offence has looked flat on Tuesday and through the opening seven innings of Wednesday’s game.

But in the eighth, Yunel Escobar opened with a single. Corey Patterson, who had gone 4-for-9 in his first two games as a Blue Jay and was 1-for-3 on the afternoon, followed with a perfectly placed bunt up the first base line for an infield single and his second hit of the game.

That brought Bautista to the plate and last year’s home run champ drilled his third of the season into the Jays’ bullpen in left.

It was the first homer for Bautista since the third game of the season and the third homer for the Jays on their current road trip.

The Jays didn’t sit on Bautista’s homer as later in the eighth, Edwin Encarnacion would double home Jayson Nix who had doubled himself. Following a walk by John McDonald, Jose Molina doubled to the wall in centre to drive in two more.

On the mound they received a fairly solid performance from rookie right-hander Kyle Drabek, who seemed to have more trouble with his command than the Seattle hitters.

Drabek allowed two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings but of his 114 pitches, he managed just 59 strikes against 55 balls. Somehow he walked just four with none of the free passes coming around to score.

The telling blow off Drabek occurred in the sixth when leadoff hitter Justin Smoak drilled a 3-2 pitch to the opposite field for his first homer of the season.

The Jays missed an opportunity to snap the 1-1 tie in the fifth. They had runners on first and second with two out and Bautista at the plate.

Bautista worked the count full then hit a high fly to left that Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley leapt into the seats to catch.

The Jays opened a 1-0 lead in the third. With one out, Molina laced a double to left centre.

Escobar followed with a soft looper to right that kissed the chalk line in right, then spun right into the stands for a ground rule double, scoring Molina.

The lead didn’t last long as the Mariners came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning thanks to the speed of Ichiro Suzuki.

After Chris Gimenez opened the inning with a single, Ichiro hit a one-hopper to second baseman John McDonald. Although McDonald made a quick pivot and throw to Yunel Escobar at short and he rifled a relay back to first, Ichiro easily beat the throw.

One out later, Milton Bradley ripped a double to left centre that easily scored Ichiro.

In Wednesday’s game, manager John Farrell didn’t start Adam Lind, Travis Snider and Aaron Hill, which made for a different looking lineup and batting order. Juan Rivera was back after a two-game absence and was in left field. He was also the cleanup hitter even though he entered the game hitting .133 (4-for-30) with all four hits being singles. He also has zero RBIs. Rivera went 0-for-3 Wednesday.

Batting fifth was third baseman Jayson Nix. Taking over at first was Edwin Encarnacion while John McDonald was at second in place of Hill.

Nix batting fifth?

“Not by default,” Farrell said. “He has been from the two hole to the nine hole.”

The reason was that Farrell didn’t want to move Encarnacion up from the seven slot where he has been productive of late (7-for-18 over the past four games).

“Edwin is more comfortable in that bottom third,” Farrell said. “Jayson has put up some quality at-bats since he’s been here and we want to keep some speed in the middle of the order as well. So that’s the thought there.”


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