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.
Marlins third baseman Martin Prado was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s game after sustaining a left hamstring injury in the sixth inning. Prado sprinted down the first base line to beat out a grounder, but came up limping and had to be helped off of the field and down the steps of the dugout. His recovery timetable has yet to be determined, though he’s considered day-to-day for the time being.
Prior to the incident, Prado went 3-for-4 with two doubles against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer — his first game with multiple extra-base hits since July 2017. It was a rare lucky break for the infielder, who entered Friday’s game with a .169/.221/.180 batting line, one double and three RBI in 95 plate appearances in 2018. The injury appears to be an aggravation of the left hamstring strain he sustained in March, which forced the club to bench him for just over a month this spring.
Prado was replaced on the field by Brian Anderson, who shifted over from right field so the team could bring in pinch-hitter/corner outfielder J.B. Shuck. The Marlins currently trail the Nationals 7-5 in the top of the eighth inning.