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HOU@TOR: Bautista belts two homers vs. Astros

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista helped turn a sluggish Saturday afternoon game into another Blue Jays victory by putting on a classic show at Rogers Centre.

Toronto trailed by four and was plagued by a stagnant offense until the Major League leader in home runs struck again.

Bautista hit a pair of homers and the Blue Jays used a three-run seventh inning to earn a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Astros in front of 21,812 fans.

"It's always a surprise when you keep hitting home runs," said Bautista, who has now reached base in 35 of the 37 games he has played. "I'm not surprised about the RBIs or the fact that I'm playing well.

"Given what happened last year, and knowing what I feel like I'm capable of doing, I expected to perform at a high level. I know I'm doing probably a little bit better than I expected."

Toronto had trouble generating any offense early in the game against Astros starter Brett Myers. The Blue Jays had only three baserunners reach base through five innings and found themselves trailing, 4-0, heading into the bottom of the sixth.

The club's fortunes were reversed in that inning thanks in part to a costly error by Astros shortstop Clint Barmes. Yunel Escobar hit what should have been a routine double play but the ball went through the Barmes' legs.

Two batters later, Bautista sent an 0-1 curveball over the wall in left field for his 17th home run to cut the Astros lead to one. It was Bautista's first dinger since he ripped three on Sunday against the Twins.

"You're looking at a tailor-made double play that turns into a three-run inning for us," Toronto manager John Farrell said.

"It seemed like we were a little sluggish through the first five, but once they gave us that extra out and gave Jose an opportunity to come to the plate. Obviously, he hit the first home run of the day and that three-run homer woke us up a little bit."

Toronto continued its offensive attack the following inning. Rookie designated hitter Eric Thames hit a one-out double that just eluded the outstretched glove of Brian Bogusevic in left-center field. Jose Molina followed two batters later with an RBI single up the middle to even the score at 4.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar then recorded a two-run homer to deep left field to put Toronto up by two. Escobar's fourth homer and first since May 9 came on a 1-0 pitch from Myers (1-4). That chased the Houston right-hander after he surrendered six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"I made some good pitches," Myers said. "I made a couple of mistakes and they hit them hard. Sometimes you get away with them, and I haven't all year and it's been tough. Usually you make pitches and try to outthink guys and stuff like that and it doesn't work for you."

Bautista delivered the final blow in the bottom of the eighth. He added his 18th homer on a 1-0 pitch from Astros reliever Jose Valdez. It marked Bautista's third multihomer game of the season and the 14th of his career.

The 30-year-old entered Saturday's game hitless in his past eight at-bats. That was the first time this season Bautista went two consecutive games without a hit, but it wasn't exactly something he'd classify as a drought.

"I'm just trying to contribute in any way I can," Bautista said. "In that at-bat, it was either get on base or hit the ball hard and get in scoring position and it just happened that the ball went out."

The Blue Jays' late offensive output helped offset an inconsistent outing from right-hander Brandon Morrow. Toronto's No. 2 starter seemed to have difficulty finding a rhythm for most of his outing and was charged with four runs on nine hits and three walks in six-plus innings.

Morrow allowed two runs in a 22-pitch first that saw him surrender two hits and a walk. In the third, he gave up a two-out RBI single to Chris Johnson, while the Houston third baseman also added a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

The 26-year-old Morrow allowed a baserunner in every inning except for a three-up, three-down sixth, but managed to avoid a big inning, which enabled Toronto's offense the chance to come back. He was taken out with two men on and nobody out in the seventh.

"I felt pretty good, they were just slapping the ball around the place," said Morrow, who has struck out 12.09 batters per nine innings this season.

"I couldn't get them to hit it at somebody. Got a little bit unlucky in the first. Where I get angry at myself is the leadoff walk in the seventh, if I could get something back that would be it."

Casey Janssen came on in relief and quickly got the Blue Jays out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the seventh. He struck out Carlos Lee and then induced an inning-ending double play off the bat former Toronto prospect Brett Wallace.

Janssen (1-0) has allowed just two runs over his past 10 1/3 innings and has become a key component of Farrell's bullpen.

"He does such a good job of locating his fastball and his cutter," Farrell said. "He stays out of the middle of the plate, typically, he has had a very good year to date.

"He has been very successful against left-handers and in some ways, I view him as a left-handed reliever for us because he has been so effective against lefties, and that's the type of spot we've seen him do before and was successful in it."

Toronto (23-22) recorded its first victory in club history against Houston. The Blue Jays have won eight of their past 10 and will look to win the Interleague series against the Astros on Sunday afternoon. Comments