Bautista jump-starts offense with HR, two RBIs

Bautista jump-starts offense with HR, two RBIs

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' powerful lineup seems to be quite fond of Orioles right-hander Mike Wright, but it's safe to say that the feeling isn't mutual.

Wright made his first big league start since June 19 on Saturday afternoon, and the results were rather predictable. Both of those outings came against the Blue Jays, and back in June, it was Edwin Encarnacion who did most of the damage. This time it was Jose Bautista's time to shine in a 5-1 victory.

Bautista homered in the first and added an RBI double in the third as the Blue Jays tagged the rookie starter for three runs over four innings. With lefty David Price on the mound for Toronto, that was more than enough run support.

Bautista's RBI double

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Bautista said of his homer. "I was very aware of his fastball because of the first few pitches. I felt like the ball was getting on me. He threw a slider and kind of hung it there. I did get out in front of it a little bit, but I kept my hands back and I was able to square it up and make good contact."

Bautista has 32 home runs on the season, and he is nine RBIs away from reaching the 100 plateau for the second consecutive year. The midseason additions of Price and Troy Tulowitzki, combined with Encarnacion's red-hot August have taken some of the attention away from Bautista but he quietly continues to go about his business.

Since the start of August, Bautista is batting .283 with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs. He's reached base in all but four of those 31 games, and his average has climbed from .231 on July 31st to a more respectable .246. The on-base percentage and OPS have been strong all year, but just like the rest of the Blue Jays' lineup, he is staying hot at the right time.

Toronto hasn't lost back-to-back games since Aug. 14-15, and while that can't be done without some strong pitching, the offense continues to lead the way. The Blue Jays lead the Majors with 251 runs since the All-Star break, and Bautista is just one of the many reasons why.

"They're a really good hitting team, but you have no chance to get an out if you don't throw strikes," said Wright, who fell behind to Bautista in his first at-bat. "It wasn't the pitch selection, it was more the way I threw it. I should've thrown it off the plate or down, and I missed middle with it."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.