Posted by: Jeremy | October 1, 2010

253 and counting…

Grand salami time

The most prolific home run season in Jays history isn’t quite in the books yet. Jose Bautista snapped a late-season slump last night in Minnesota, belting a seventh inning grand slam into the Target Field upper deck and adding a ninth inning solo shot to bump his total to 54 and help Toronto cruise to a 13-2 win over the Twins. As usual, Bautista wasn’t the only one in on the act, either — Edwin Encarnacion hit a pair off Francisco Liriano and Jose Molina and Travis Snider each went deep, with Snider’s his third in as many nights.

Bautista went 3-for-5, snapping an 0-for-20 skid with a single to start the sixth before getting back to his long ball act an inning later off Minnesota reliever Pat Neshek. His shot a couple innings later off lefty Jose Mijares cleared the right field wall, giving him his first opposite field homer of the year. Not that we were ever picky about where he hit them, though. Bautista also bumped his RBI total to 124, leaving him two back of Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who also happens to be out for the Tigers’ remaining four games.

Perhaps as improbable as Bautista’s opposite field job was the fact Toronto hit three homers off Liriano, who came in having coughed up just six in 186 innings over 30 starts this season. Encarnacion got him the first two times, with Molina doing the last of the damage. Snider’s homer came in the eighth off Jeff Manship and continued the tear he’s been on since getting plopped in the leadoff spotnine games ago. In that stretch, he’s hit .385 with five homers, and has hits in a career-best 12 straight games altogether.

On the mound, Shawn Hill made the last of his four starts, pitching 4 2/3 and letting in a lone run before his Tommy John-recovering arm got the hook after 93 pitches and with a couple runners on. Brian Tallet got out of the inning and Casey Janssen earned the win by retiring four straight Twins to get the Jays through to the eighth inning. Taylor Buchholz made his Jays debut in the ninth, retiring the side in order.

So, eight wins in 10 games bumps the Jays to 83-76 and promises at least 13 more wins than I had them pegged for at the beginning of the season. Humbling, yes, but not as embarrassing as my prediction of Seattle winning the West. Ricky Romero (13-9, 3.79) closes his fine sophomore year tonight, with Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.83) going for Minnesota.


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