Bautista paces Blue JaysSlugger hits two more homers
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
|Jose Bautista (left) is congratulated by Blue Jays teammate Yunel Escobar after hitting a three-run homer against the Astros on Saturday. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
TORONTO - Okay, everybody can breathe a little easier. When the world ends Sunday, the Blue Jays will finish over .500.
The Blue Jays' Latin connection saw to that Saturday as Jose Bautista, Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina provided all the offence in a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros.
Bautista belted a pair of late home runs to push his major-league leading total to 18 while driving in four runs and Escobar crashed a two-run go-ahead homer after Molina's second hit of the game had tied it in the seventh.
Houston had built a 4-0 lead through six innings against Toronto starter Brandon Morrow but Bautista's 17th homer, a three-run shot off Houston starter Brett Myers pulled them to within one in the seventh.
In the eighth, after Molina's single drove home Eric Thames with the tying run, Escobar stepped up and hit a 1-0 pitch into the seats in left to provide the margin of victory.
The Astros got to Morrow for two runs in the first inning. With one out and runners at first and second, third baseman John McDonald fielded Carlos Lee's slow roller and tried to force Hunter Pence at second but the throw was late, loading the bases.
Brett Wallace plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to left and then Pence scored on Chris Johnson's single to right. On that same play, Jose Bautista threw out Lee at third base, but not before Pence had crossed the plate.
In the third, the Astros strung together three two-out hits to score a third run and in the fifth, Johnson's sacrifice fly made it 4-0.
With one swing of the bat in the bottom of the seventh, Bautista brought the crowd of 21,494 out of its afternoon nap. With Molina, who singled, and Escobar, who was on via an error by the shortstop, on base ahead, Bautista climbed all over an 0-1 pitch from Myers and sent it into the second deck in left to cut the Houston advantage to a solitary run.
Toronto took control of the game in the eighth, parlaying a one-out Thames double with a Molina single to tie it before Escobar sent Myers to the showers with a two-run bomb to left, his fourth of the season.
Bautista's 18th homer, leading off the eighth, made it 7-4. The Astros battled back for a run in the ninth before Octavio Dotel got the final two outs.