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Jose Bautista's game of catch with fans goes awry

Jose Bautista walks off the field after striking

Jose Bautista walks off the field after striking out looking in the fifth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Baltimore. Credit: AP / Patrick Semansky

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista tormented the Yankees at the plate Saturday in Toronto's 6-3 win and toyed with the fans in the rightfield bleachers, but the interaction got out of hand when a fan threw a ball that was a peace offering from Bautista back onto the field, holding up play in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Bautista reached base in all five plate appearances (two hits, three walks) and scored four runs, including one on a solo homer in the seventh that was his 34th of the season and eighth in 15 games against the Yankees, the most by any opponent. As he circled the bases, the fans booed Bautista, who drew the ire of Yankees pitcher Shawn Kelley on Thursday night when he homered, slammed down his bat and cursed all the way around the bases. Bautista said his anger was not directed at Kelley but at the plate umpire for a previous strike call.

Bautista provoked the fans again in the bottom of the seventh when he caught a fly ball from Brian McCann to end the inning and faked a toss into the stands. When he came out for the bottom of the eighth, Bautista tossed a ball into the stands that a fan ultimately rejected.

Asked if he enjoyed "stirring up" the fans, Bautista said, "I don't think that's what happened. That's your take. Getting a ball thrown at me doesn't seem like it's very enjoyable."

Describing the interaction with the "Bleacher Creatures," known for their boisterous behavior, Bautista added, "They were chirping at me. It was one of those things. They got a little rowdy and threw a ball to the field. I thought it was some innocent back and forth, but after the ball was thrown, I decided not to continue to have the interaction because what could happen next?"

 

Early birds for Orioles

The Yankees announced they will open the gates for the three night games against Baltimore this week an hour earlier at 4 p.m. so fans can watch batting practice. Gates for Wednesday's 1 p.m. start will open at the usual time of 11 a.m. Derek Jeter's final regular-season home game is scheduled for Thursday night . . . Brett Gardner (2-for-5) snapped an 0-for-27 streak with a first-inning double.

New York Sports