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Bautista kills Green Monster

Jays' slugger goes deep twice in Boston

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BOSTON -- Toronto manager John Gibbons was most impressed by the power. Jose Bautista enjoyed his throw to the plate a bit more.

Either way, Bautista helped the Blue Jays bounce back with a win over the Red Sox.

Bautista hit a pair of long homers over the Green Monster, starting with the 200th of his career and following with a tiebreaking, two-run drive off Junichi Tazawa in the eighth inning that led the Blue Jays over Boston 6-2 Saturday.

His sixth-inning throw to the plate cut down Shane Victorino on Dustin Pedroia's single to medium-deep right.

Gibbons could only pause, lean back in his chair and smile when asked what impressed him most -- the two homers or throw.

"Any time you hit two home runs in close ball games I have to give it to that," he said. "Homers win."

Bautista put Toronto ahead 2-0 with a solo homer in the sixth, a drive that cleared a billboard at the back of the Monster seats in straightaway left and had the crowd buzzing for several batters. He stood at the plate briefly, admiring the ball's flight.

"I knew I was one away, so when I was in the dugout I did enjoy it," he said, adding a Red Sox parking lot employee retrieved the ball for him.

But it was his throw that made the slugger happiest.

"It's more difficult and more rare to throw people out on the bases," he said. "Anytime I do that I enjoy it a lot more."

After Victorino's two-run single against Steve Delabar (5-1) tied the score in the seventh, Bautista followed Jose Reyes' leadoff single in the eighth with a drive off Tazawa (4-3) that went off the base of a light-tower in left-centre. Bautista has 18 home runs this season and 21 career multi-homer games.

The Red Sox had another runner cut down in the seventh. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was out at the plate, when pitcher Darren Oliver's throw home beat him on Jonathan Diaz's squeeze bunt.

Boston manager John Farrell knows how much Bautista can affect a game, having managed the Blue Jays the past two seasons.

"Very good player. Obviously capable of hitting balls out of the ballpark every time he steps in the box," he said. "He gets a 2-0 cutter from (Felix) Doubront for the first solo home run, and then as I mentioned, on the split the other way from Tazawa. We looked to put pressure on the defence in that situation. Bautista is ranging to his right, comes up and throws about a 260-foot strike to cut down Victorino."

Victorino knew it was an accurate throw, but didn't feel like it should be the main focus.

"Plays like that change scenarios," he said. "But we were able to come back and tie the game. Let's look at that on the positive side of things."

Toronto, which lost the opening two games of the four-game series, stopped Boston's four-game winning streak.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 30, 2013 B6

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