Orioles rookie Garcia nearly hits Bautista before home run
TORONTO (AP) — Baltimore Orioles rookie pitcher Jason Garcia narrowly missed plunking Blue Jays’ right fielder Jose Bautista in the seventh inning with a 94 mph fastball.
Three pitches later, Bautista fired his response over the left-field fence to knock in the home team’s final two runs in Tuesday night’s 13-6 win.
In standing and admiring the 250th home run of his career, Bautista irked a number of Orioles players, who weren’t about to simply bite their tongues after the game.
“It’s just wrong,” said Ryan Flaherty. “It’s not him in particular, but he’s one of the game’s best players and it’s just sad that’s the way he chooses to play the game.”
Adam Jones was even more forthright, and defended his pitcher’s actions as perfectly in keeping with those of a nervous 22-year-old just learning the ropes of major-league baseball.
“Respect the game,” the center fielder said. “I know he does, but at that moment right there he didn’t, and when it happens against my team I’m going to take offence to it.”
For his part, Bautista shrugged off the criticism of his actions after connecting on his fourth home run of the year.
“I’m an emotional player and I play with a lot of passion,” he said. “You throw at me, I’m not going to forget and if I get you right after, I’m going to enjoy it. And I did. I have no regrets about it.”
The Blue Jays will have no regrets about how the game unfolded.
The first of two Edwin Encarnacion home runs was a leadoff shot that landed on the batter’s eye beyond center field and sparked a six-run second inning. Three more runs in the third were enough to chase Orioles starter Bud Norris (0-2) after just 2 1-3 innings, less than two weeks after getting yanked only three innings into Baltimore’s home opener against the same Blue Jays.
Encarnacion’s second homer, for his fourth of the season, was a left-field blast into the top deck of Rogers Centre. It was just the 18th home run to climb that high in the 26-year history of the stadium.
Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (3-0) went six innings to get his second win against the Orioles this year. Given the offensive support being provided to the left-hander so far this season - an average of 12 runs a game in his first two starts - his confidence is certainly peaking.
“I’m going to put my name up on the board tomorrow and tell them I’m pitching and see if it works again,” Buehrle joked. “I wouldn’t want to be the opposing pitcher when I’m pitching.”
Sitting on the other side of the fence, Norris was in a less jovial mood, particularly with two big losses against the Blue Jays in less than two weeks.
“It’s a combination of things,” Norris said of his recent travails against Toronto. “The mistakes I’m making, they’re not missing . I’ve got to get back on the horse, keep competing and pitching the corners and because that’s all I can do.”
The newly laid artificial turf at Rogers Centre was back in the spotlight, as Orioles third baseman Jimmy Paredes was hit in the face during batting practice on a bad hop while fielding grounders. He was OK, but the turf has already been criticized this season for playing too slow, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter, seeing it for the first time cautioned, “You’ve got to be careful out there.”
Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) faces Blue Jays RH Aaron Sanchez (0-2) on Wednesday night. Over three career appearances at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, including two starts, Jimenez has an earned-run average of 8.68.
Blue Jays: Rookie second baseman Devon Travis sat out with sore ribs after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. Outfielder Michael Saunders, on a rehab assignment with Single-A Dunedin after knee surgery during spring training, will “ideally” join the team in Tampa this weekend, said manager John Gibbons. Starter Daniel Norris underwent an MRI on his pitching arm after suffering what he termed a “dead-arm phase” following his last start on Sunday. The test revealed he had nothing more serious than fatigue.
Orioles: Shortstop J.J. Hardy, recovering from a left shoulder strain, is with Triple-A Norfolk and hit off a tee and took ground balls Tuesday, but there is no timetable for his return. According to Showalter, catcher Matt Wieters, who is rehabbing following Tommy John surgery, may catch two to three innings on Friday in Sarasota.