As far as baseball narratives go, it could not have been more perfect.
Deadlocked at 2-2 with a Baltimore Orioles team that practically lives on succeeding in close games, the Toronto Blue Jays needed a breakthrough to extend their season-saving nine game winning streak to an even 10. Of course, who better to step up than the team’s most valuable player over the last few seasons, Jose Bautista?
All it took was one swing on a 3-2 slider to turn a potential 0-for-4 day into the heroic performance that the bluebirds needed.
Bautista, as Blue Jays fans are no doubt aware, had been mired in a bit of a slump in recent days, going just 4-for-27 over his last eight games (189/.231/.324 for the month) headed into Saturday and generally not joining in on all the fun that the team has been having on this winning streak.
He always had the power, though. And while one home run does not a slump-buster make, it’s fitting redemption that the player to finally take the team over that .500 mark in a 2013 season that was supposed to be all buy lost would be the same guy who the team relied on as its best hitter before this all-in year.
Even though he has a bit of a different role for the team these days as a no. 2 hitter (which is a credit, by the way, to the manager that so many wanted fired), Bautista is still on pace for a 36-homer season.
He might not be the best hitter on the team at this point, but those numbers will continue to make him a threat anywhere in the lineup, and it’ll be interesting to see how much better he responds when Jose Reyes finally returns to set the table in front of the slugger.
The way things have been going for this team, you’d think it was almost meant to be this way. The talent was going to come together at some point, the pitching was going to rebound, and the team was going to find a way to win some ball games because they just couldn’t possibly be that bad.
Winning 10 in a row, however, might be a bit of an unexpected surprise.
And doing it against the divisional rival Orioles? Well that’s just icing on the cake, isn’t it.