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Jose Bautista Is Still Rounding the Bases

If only Jose Bautista had just punched somebody in the face during last night's bench-clearing brawl display of guys standing around, perhaps he wouldn't have felt the need to hit the eff-you home run in the eighth inning that put the Jays ahead for good, and dropped the Yankees back into a tie with Tampa. If only.

As it played out, Bautista merely exchanged words with Ivan Nova during said bench-clearing after Nova brushed him back with a pitch, eventually taking out his frustration with a home run off David Robertson — his 2nd of the game and 40th of the year — and a subsequent slow trot around the bases. Both Joe Girardi and Nova said after the game that they weren't intentionally throwing at Bautista. One imagines, given Bautista's reaction to the home run, that they'd sure like to throw at him now.

The Yankees did not start their most intimidating lineup in this one — their batting order included both Ramiro Pena (who, to be fair, had two hits) and Eduardo Nunez — but Jorge Posada's double tied the game until the eighth, when Robertson allowed the go-ahead homer to Bautista. Nova didn't pitch badly in his first big-league start, allowing just two runs over five-and-a-third innings (and just 73 pitches). It was the bullpen, which has been so stellar since Robertson took over for Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, that gave this one away, as they were bound to do eventually. Dustin Moseley gets the start tonight against Marc Rzepczynski.

Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images