Jose Bautista sets Blue Jays record with 30 first-half homers

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Jose Bautista became the first major leaguer in four years and the first ever Blue Jay to hit 30 homers prior to the All-Star break when he took Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin deep in the third inning Saturday.

Alex Rodriguez was the last player to hit 30 homers in the first half, finishing with exactly that many on his way to hitting 54 overall in 2007.

George Bell held the Blue Jays record with 29 first-half homers in his MVP season of 1987.  He ended up with 49 homers that year.

Bautista, this year’s leading vote-getter in All-Star balloting, has hit 60 homers in 156 games since last year’s All-Star break.

Tonight’s homer was also his 100th since joining the Blue Jays late in the 2008 season.

11:00 p.m. EDT: After Jon Rauch blew a save in the ninth, Bautista hit his 31st homer in the 10th inning to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win over the Indians.

It gives him four multihomer games this season.  He’s hit seven homers in nine games this month.

Video: Nolan Arenado throws out Ty Blach from his back

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Giants starter Ty Blach thought he had a one-out single in the bottom of the third inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game in San Francisco, but Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had other ideas. Arenado ranged to his left and dove. The ball began to skip away from him, but Arenado quickly re-grabbed the ball, spun around from his knees and whipped a throw across the diamond. He fell on his back like a turtle that had been flipped over as the out on Blach was recorded.

Arenado had also given the Rockies their 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-run single. He finished 2-for-4 with two RBI on the afternoon. On the season, he’s hitting .294/.346/.547 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and 50 runs scored in 348 plate appearances.

Report: Umpire John Tumpane pulled a woman from the edge of the Roberto Clemente Bridge

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Stephen J. Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have an enthralling report involving umpire John Tumpane. On Wednesday afternoon, prior to the game in Pittsburgh between the Rays and Pirates, Tumpane had finished a run and lunch. As he was crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge just outside of PNC Park, he noticed a woman climb over the bridge’s railing above the Allegheny River.

Tumpane was worried and headed towards the woman. What began was an act of heroism. He started a conversation with the woman, who said, “I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” and then said, “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”

Tumpane refused to let her go. He had his arms wrapped around her and spoke words of encouragement until police and paramedics arrived. As the woman was being put into the ambulance, Tumpane asked for her name and prayed for her. He said he hopes to reconnect with her before he leaves town for the next series. He called it an “interesting afternoon.”

The recap here doesn’t do Chambers and Nesbitt’s reporting justice, so please head over to the Post-Gazette to read the full story.

In a sport in which home plate umpires are some of the only ones wearing caged masks, it’s easy to forget that they are human beings, too. We curse at them for making calls that go against our teams, but they can be capable of greatness, too. Tumpane certainly showed that on Wednesday.