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TORONTO -- Even Jose Bautista is surprised with how many home runs he's piling up.
Baseball's reigning home run king had 54 last season, more than tripling his previous career high of 16. He's on pace to not just beat that mark this year, but smash it.
"It's always a surprise when you keep hitting home runs," Bautista said. "I'm not surprised about the RBI or the fact that I'm playing well. Given what happened last year, knowing what I feel like I'm capable of doing, I expected to perform at a high level. I'm doing probably a little bit better than I expected."
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Rookie teammate Eric Thames is just as shocked by Bautista's unbridled power.
"Man, this guy's a freak." Thames said. "You think you can just hold him down, but he makes adjustments. He just smashes the ball."
Bautista hit a three-run drive to left off Brett Myers in the sixth and added a solo shot to left against Jose Valdez in the eighth. It was his third multihomer game of the season and the 14th of his career.
In the seventh, after Jose Molina tied it at 4 with a two-out single to center, Escobar hit a two-run drive to left, his fourth.
Escobar's shot also came off Myers (1-4), who has not won since April 12, a span of seven starts. The right-hander allowed six runs, five earned, in 6 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out two.
"I made some good pitches, but also a couple of mistakes and they hit them hard," Myers said. "Sometimes you get away with them, but I haven't all year. It's been tough."
Casey Janssen (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.
After Jason Frasor worked a perfect eighth, the Blue Jays needed two pitchers to close it out in the ninth. Jon Rauch was replaced after giving up an RBI double to Angel Sanchez. Former Astros closer Octavio Dotel came on and struck out Hunter Pence, then got Carlos Lee to ground out to earn his first save.
The Astros jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow with two runs in the first. Michael Bourn drew a leadoff walk, Pence hit a one-out single and Houston loaded the bases when Lee reached on a fielder's choice, with Pence beating third baseman John McDonald's throw to second. Brett Wallace drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Johnson followed with an RBI single to right, but Lee was thrown out trying to advance to third.
Johnson hit an RBI single in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth as the Astros built a 4-0 lead.
Morrow allowed four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings. He walked three and struck out six.
The Blue Jays struggled to get anything going through the first five innings against Myers, who set down 10 in a row after Bautista's infield single in the first.
Toronto put runners at first and second after a pair of singles in the fifth, but McDonald lined into an inning-ending double play, with Juan Rivera caught off second base.
Defensive lapses cost the Astros as Toronto rallied in the sixth and seventh. Molina opened the sixth with a single and Escobar reached on a fielding error by shortstop Clint Barmes. One out later, Bautista blasted an 0-1 pitch to left, cutting the deficit to one.
"We've made mistakes a lot of times this year that have hurt us and I made a really big one today," Barmes said. "It's pretty frustrating, that's for sure, especially with what our records reads and how it's gone this year."
Bautista had been struggling to catch up with Myers's fastball, but homered on a hanging curve.
"I know when he has runners on base he throws a lot of offspeed," Bautista said. "Sometimes sliders, sometimes curveballs and sometimes a changeup, but I know his favorite pitch is a curveball. I wasn't sitting on it, but I was looking for something slower."
"I had it," Bogusevic said. "At the last second, I froze up. I caught a glimpse of (center fielder Michael Bourn) as he was backing me up. I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye and I froze on it. I should have caught it."
One out later, Thames scored the tying run on Molina's groundball single, and Escobar followed with his tiebreaking homer.
|Jose Bautista's two HRs increase his major-league lead to 18. It's his third multihomer game of the year. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Michael Bourn, CF||4||2||1||0||1||0||2||.271|
|Angel Sanchez, 2B||4||0||1||1||1||2||2||.265|
|Hunter Pence, RF||5||1||2||0||0||2||1||.293|
|Carlos Lee, DH||5||2||2||0||0||1||3||.244|
|Brett Wallace, 1B||3||0||2||1||0||0||1||.310|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||3||0||2||3||0||0||0||.225|
|Clint Barmes, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.191|
|Brian Bogusevic, LF||4||0||1||0||0||3||0||.286|
|Humberto Quintero, C||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.250|
|2B - Angel Sanchez (6, Rauch), Carlos Lee (8, Morrow)|
|SF - Brett Wallace (2), Chris Johnson (1)|
|RBI - Angel Sanchez (18), Brett Wallace (14), Chris Johnson 3 (22)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chris Johnson 2 (6)|
|SB - Carlos Lee (2, 2nd base off Morrow/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Johnson-Sanchez, Johnson-Sanchez-Wallace|
|E - Clint Barmes (2, Misplayed grounder)|
|Brett Myers (L,1-4)||6.2||8||6||5||0||2||2||5.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brett Myers 99-64, Sergio Escalona 5-3, Jose Valdez 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Myers 6-12, Jose Valdez 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Brett Myers 28, Sergio Escalona 1, Jose Valdez 4|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||2||1||2||0||0||0||.276|
|Corey Patterson, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.273|
|Jose Bautista, RF||4||2||3||4||0||0||0||.364|
|Aaron Hill, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Juan Rivera, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.223|
|Rajai Davis, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Eric Thames, DH||3||1||2||0||0||1||0||.333|
|John McDonald, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||.204|
|Jose Molina, C||3||2||2||1||0||1||0||.314|
|2B - Eric Thames (1, Myers)|
|HR - Yunel Escobar (4, Myers), Jose Bautista 2 (18, Myers, Valdez)|
|RBI - Yunel Escobar 2 (15), Jose Bautista 4 (31), Jose Molina (5)|
|2-OUT RBI - Yunel Escobar 2 (3), Jose Molina (4)|
|SB - Jose Bautista (5, 2nd base off Myers/Quintero)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|Outfield Assists - Jose Bautista 1|
|DP - Hill-Escobar-J. Rivera|
|PB - Jose Molina (2)|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Casey Janssen (W,1-0)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.45|
|Jason Frasor (H,4)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.45|
|Jon Rauch (H,1)||0.1||2||1||1||0||0||0||4.00|
|Octavio Dotel (S,1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||5.84|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Morrow 104-70, Casey Janssen 10-6, Jason Frasor 11-8, Jon Rauch 15-10, Octavio Dotel 7-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Morrow 5-7, Casey Janssen 1-0, Jon Rauch 1-0, Octavio Dotel 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Brandon Morrow 30, Casey Janssen 2, Jason Frasor 3, Jon Rauch 3, Octavio Dotel 2|
|Attendance - 21494|
|Game Time - 2:37|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Brian Gorman|