As if Jose Bautista's breakout 2010 season, which resulted in his first All-Star selection, wasn't exciting enough, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder picked it up a few notches in August.
Leading the American League in five offensive categories was more than enough for him to be named the league's Player of the Month. The AL's monthly awards stayed in the East, with Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz taking home Pitcher of the Month honors.
Bautista, the Major League leader with 43 home runs, topped the AL in home runs (12), RBIs (24), slugging percentage (.742) and total bases (72) while tying for the lead with 18 extra-base hits. He also finished tied for second in runs (23) and third in walks (23). He reached base safely in the final 13 games of the month while hitting .299 with a .431 on-base percentage and .742 slugging percentage in 98 at-bats.
This was his second career monthly award, and his second in a row, as he shared honors with Minnesota's Delmon Young in July. Before July, the last Blue Jay to take home Player of the Month honors was Joe Carter, back in April 1994.
Reaching double-digits in homers in a month is nothing new for Bautista this year. This was his third time above that plateau -- with 11 in May and 11 in July, the only time a Blue Jays player has accomplished that feat. Bautista has set a Blue Jays record with three monthly home run titles as well. His dozen long balls in August tied him with Jose Cruz Jr. and Carlos Delgado atop the organizational leaderboard for the month.
As good as Bautista was at the plate, Buchholz was just as dominant on the mound. The right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 28 strikeouts over six starts. He was second in the league in ERA for the month, bringing his Major League-leading ERA down to 2.21 for the season. The AL Cy Young Award candidate is also among the league leaders for the year in wins (15), winning percentage (.750) and opponent batting average (.222).
With the Red Sox trying to claw back into the playoff race, Buchholz came up with three of his four wins against intra-division opponents, beating Bautista's Jays twice and the Yankees once last month. The 2010 All-Star went at least seven innings in five of his six starts and allowed a run or fewer in five starts as well. Over the course of the month, he strung together a career-best 26 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, spanning three starts.
Rotation-mate Jon Lester won this honor back in May, giving the Red Sox two Pitcher of the Month Awards for the first time since Lester was so honored in July and September 2008.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.