TORONTO – Jose Bautista doesn’t want to get traded by Toronto. The way he’s hitting right now, his Blue Jays teammates are just as eager to keep him around.
Bautista hit a grand slam, his major league-leading 31st home run, Fred Lewis added a solo shot and the Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 8-1 on Friday night, their sixth win in seven games.
Austin Kearns, on the other hand, is OK with getting traded, which works out just fine for him since the Indians sent him to the New York Yankees
Kearns was lifted for pinch-runner Chris Gimenez after singling in the seventh and was told after the game he had been traded for a player to be named or cash.
“This guy has paid his dues and he deserves to go to a contender at this time of year and maybe win a ring,” Indians manager Manny Acta said of Kearns.
Kearns said he was excited by the prospect of playing in a pennant race at Yankee Stadium.
“Whether you’re on the home or visiting team, it’s fun,” he said. “You’ve got a packed house and you know you’re playing on a winner. You can’t ask for anything more.”
As for the Blue Jays, first baseman Lyle Overbay doesn’t expect Bautista to go anywhere, even with today’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline looming.
“Honestly, I think he’s going to be around,” Overbay said. “He’s too valuable right now. He can play all the positions and they’ve got something they can control (contractually). It makes sense to keep him.”
Bautista said he’s in no hurry to leave, and appreciates the support from the rest of the team.
“I like this team a lot, I like my teammates,” Bautista said, “so to hear them say stuff like that makes me feel real good and accepted.”
Bautista went 3-for-3 and walked twice before being lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth inning.
The Blue Jays have homered in 11 consecutive games, hitting 27 over that span, and lead the major leagues with 157, including league highs at home (87) and in July (42).
“They beat us with what they’re good at,” Cleveland starter Justin Masterson said.
Bautista leads the majors with 11 home runs this month. Nineteen of his homers this season have come at Rogers Centre.
“I feel like it’s spring training, when I was seeing a lot of pitches over the plate and kept taking advantage of it,” Bautista said. “I hope to ride this wave as long as I can.”
Pitching with flulike symptoms, Shaun Marcum (10-4) worked seven innings to win his third straight start. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits, walked none and struck out a season-high 10, one shy of his career best.
Acta said Marcum “manhandled” his team.
“The night belonged to Marcum,” Acta said. “He was fantastic.”
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston lifted Marcum after the seventh and sent him home, then told him to take today off as well.
“He probably pitched one of his best games all year,” Gaston said.
Marcum was perfect through the first four innings but Indians catcher Carlos Santana led off the fourth with a single off Overbay’s glove. Kearns followed with a double past Edwin Encarnacion at third before Matt LaPorta ended Marcum’s shutout bid with a sacrifice fly.
Casey Janssen pitched the eighth and Shawn Camp worked the ninth for Toronto.
Lewis opened the third with a drive to center, his seventh, and Bautista hit his third career slam in Toronto’s six-run, 10-batter fourth. Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar hit RBI singles in the inning, with all the damage coming off Masterson (3-10).
Toronto chased Masterson in the sixth when Escobar singled, went to third when Bautista lined a base hit off the right-hander’s foot, and scored on a wild pitch.
Masterson, who has not won in five starts, allowed eight runs and 13 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Cleveland has lost six of seven and has dropped 27 of its past 42 road games.
Toronto’s Adam Lind went 0-for-5 and was the only Blue Jays starter not to get a hit.