Bautista's late homer gives Jays win

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow delivers a pitch to a St. Louis Cardinals....

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow delivers a pitch to a St. Louis Cardinals. (REUTERS/Sarah Conard)

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 AM ET

St. LOUIS - Jose Bautista thought the ball was out of the strike zone.

Right fielder John Jay thought the ball was in the park behind him.

Wherever they though it was, it ended up a game-winning home run for Bautista.

The Blue Jays ended their four-game losing streak when Bautista homered 382 feet into the St. Louis bullpen with one out in the ninth to give the Jays a 5-4 win over the Cards before 37,724 fans at Busch Stadium.

Bautista’s blast on an 0-1 pitch from reliever Fernando Salas was his 23rd homer.

“I didn’t even think it was a strike, he was pitching me away, I saw the ball fall behind the mesh but I didn’t know which side of the fence it was on,” said Bautista, who homered for the second game in succession and first since his upcoming move to third base.

Worried about the Jays lack of offence -- three runs in the previous four days -- general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell considered moving the versatile Bautista from right field to third and called Bautista Thursday.

“I didn’t volunteer, but I’ll do it,” Bautista told reporters. “They asked what I thought, I said we should do whatever’s best for the team. I’ll take ground balls there for a few days before starting there.”

Anthopoulos compared the outfielder returning to third to riding a bike.

“It may be like riding a bike if you move from third to the outfield,” Bautista said. “Not this way.”

Jays’ third basemen -- Jayson Nix, John McDonald, Mike McCoy and Edwin Encarnacion -- have hit .177 with five homers, 26 RBIs and a .530 OPS.

Those are 10-watt bulb production numbers from a power position.

Eric Thames doubled twice and beat out a possible double play ball in the two-run first. Bautista’s drive made a winner out of reliever Jason Frasor.

In game: Frank Fancisco picked up his eighth save with a 1-2-3 ninth ... Farrell used his whole bench ... Pinch hitter Corey Patterson singled to put runners on first and third in the eighth, but Lance Lynn popped up Juan Rivera and Yunel Escobar bounced out ... Why pinch run Jayson Nix for Jose Molina, who walked to lead off the eighth, with one out, what about a short passed ball, a single to set up a first and third situation? Why not right away? ... The Jays lead vanished in the sixth in a span of four pitches as John Jay doubled and Matt Holliday homered to left, his ninth, tying the score 4-4, while the Jays had doubled the Cards in hits, 10-5 ... Thames hit his second double, scored on an Adam Lind single, and Aaron Hill had his second-RBI single in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth ... The Jays should have had more. A pitch after Lance Berkman, subbing for Albert Pujols at first, couldn’t make a play on Bengie Molina’s single, Molina reached on an infield single, chasing Jake Westbrook.

Reliever Mitchell Boggs fanned both Edwin Encarnacion and Rajal Davis ... Morrow whiffed Berkman in the third began a streak in which he struck out five of six ... Cards tied the score in the third on small ball and a large passed ball. After Morrow walked No. 9 hitter Daniel Descalso, he was bunted to second, Jose Molina missed a pitch for a passed ball and Jay hit a fly ball for an unearned run ... Morrow struck out nine in seven innings, allowing three earned runs, lowering his ERA to 4.90 ... The Jays scored as many runs in a span of five hitters in the first as they did in 27 innings in Atlanta. Bautista doubled Thames to third, then Lind, with a grounder, and Hill, a line single up the middle, gave the Jays a 2-0 lead ... After pulling a Westbrook slider barely foul down the right-field line, Thames hit the next pitch, a changeup, to the wall in centre for a double in the third.

College of Cardinals: Chris Carpenter had five St. Louis Blues players at Busch Stadium Friday afternoon as his guests for an early batting practice.

Carpenter, the Jays former No. 1 pick has always been big on pucks. He played hockey. In 1998, flying to Vancouver for the Jays caravan he noticed Bobby Orr also on the plane headed to the NHL all-star game.

The 23-year-old took a deep breath walked up, introduced himself to the New England hockey legend and Hall of Famer. “Even though I hadn’t been born, I knew all about The Goal (to beat St. Louis in the 1969-70 Stanley Cup final). My favorites were Ray Bourque and Cam Neely.” ...

A good spring for Carpenter as his Bruins won Game 7 against Vancouver ... Drafted by Jays scouts Bob Engle and Ted Lekus, Carpenter was only the second New Hampshire player selected in the first round. The other was Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk ... Jays announcer Jerry Howarth’s relationship with Vancouver’s Dave McKay, a Cards coach, go back to 1974-75 when both were at triple-A Tacoma (Twins). Howarth remembers Family Day that year and Vancouver’s McKay tossing a whiffle ball to his four-year-old Cody, who played with the Cards in 2004 ...

Parts of the banks of lights behind home plate went out as the top of the ninth was about to begin causing a 13 minute delay.


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