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Bautista dumps slump, powers Jays with two HRs

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Jose Bautista picked a perfect time to break out of a June slump.

An important time for his team.

The right fielder almost single-handedly gave the Toronto Blue Jays a game they desperately needed Saturday.

"Any time you contribute, you feel good," Bautista said after snapping out of an 18-for-99 month with two homers and other key ingredients, leading the Jays to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox.

"I'm not too concerned about batting averages or things like that. I just want to help out in the day-to-day wins. I felt like I could have helped out a lot more lately."

After his team had lost the first two games of a four-game series to fall 8 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East, Bautista hit the 200th and 201st career homers, threw a runner out at home for the second straight game and made a key play on the bases.

"Jose broke out today," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, whose team was in danger of falling to 1-5 on its current road trip. "Last (time) we played here, he might have had two home runs (he did, May 11). I think that's his 200th; maybe now that he has that behind him."

In other words, this team needs Bautista, who hit a solo homer in the sixth and then his 18th of the year in the eighth, snapping a 2-2 tie. And in a two-run ninth, he scorched a ball through the legs of third baseman Jonathan Diaz that was scored an error.

In the first inning, Bautista stayed in a rundown long enough to allow Edwin Encarnacion to get into scoring position.

"He's been cold the last few weeks," Gibbons said. "He's gotten some big hits along the way, some big home runs, but it's a good sign today. Maybe that will get him going consistently and all that's going to do is make us better."

While Bautista became the story of the day, right-hander Esmil Rogers was close behind. After starters Chien-Ming Wang and Josh Johnson flamed out in the first two games of the series, Rogers gave the Jays six shutout innings, leaving with the lead.

"That's what he's capable of right there," Gibbons said. "We've seen that a few times since he's been in the rotation. He's got the great arm, got the good breaking pitches too ... against a tough-hitting team, so I tip my hat to him."

The first-place Red Sox saw their four-game winning streak end. In doing so, they had two runners cut down at the plate, one on Bautista's throw and another on a safety-squeeze bunt in the eighth.

Boston tied the score on Shane Victorino's two-run single in the seventh before Bautista clobbered a pitch by Junichi Tazawa (4-3) with nobody out in the eighth.

Bautista gunned Victorino out at the plate in the sixth.

"Very good player. Obviously capable of hitting balls out of the ballpark every time he steps in the box," Boston manager John Farrell said of Bautista. "We looked to put pressure on the defense in that situation. Bautista is ranging to his right, comes up and throws about a 260-foot strike to cut down Victorino. Very good player."

Jose Reyes, who singled before Bautista's second homer, singled in an unearned run and then scored from first in the ninth.

Adam Lind drove in the other Toronto run with a first-inning single, the first of his three hits in the game.

Steve Delabar (5-1) yielded Victorino's hit but got the win. He struck David Ortiz out to end the seventh and then fanned the side in the eighth.

Felix Doubront worked the first 6 1/3 innings for the Red Sox, pitching well enough to win.

"I thought another solid outing by Felix," Farrell said.

NOTES: Bautista is 3-for-14 lifetime against Doubront, all homers. He has 24 career home runs against Boston; and this was his 21st career multi-homer game, his fourth this year. He has 16 Fenway Park homers, his most in any away ballpark and has homered in five straight Fenway series. ... Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury (two hits) extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Rajai Davis stole two bases and has four in the last two games. ... Boston is taking a wait-and-see attitude on SS Stephen Drew, who strained his right hamstring Friday night. The Sox hope he is more day-to-day than disabled list but will wait to see if he makes it through seven or eight days and is still hurt. They summoned Diaz, a former Toronto farmhand signed as a minor league free agent by the Red Sox over the winter, from Pawtucket. ... LHP Mark Buerhle starts for Toronto against RHP Ryan Dempster in Sunday's series finale. Dempster, a Canadian, is 6-1 lifetime against Montreal (now Washington) and Toronto. ... The Red Sox signed 19-year-old second-round draft pick Teddy Stankiewicz. ... A large contingent of Blue Jays fans are here this weekend and engaged in dueling chants with the locals. ... Tazawa is 1-3 with a 10.13 ERA and four home runs allowed against Toronto this season.
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