There are four games left to play in May and the Toronto Blue Jays are almost out of the hole they dug in April.
Jose Bautista's three-run homer was all the offence the Blue Jays needed on Saturday as they extended their winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Toronto (23-26) is now three games under .500 and will be going for a season-high winning streak on Sunday afternoon.
"We're playing good baseball," said Jays manager John Gibbons. "We've picked it up and we always felt confident with the guys who have been filling in basically for the last six weeks in some key spots and they've just stepped up."
Bautista's ninth homer of the season — and eighth this month — came on the first pitch of his at-bat against Texas starter Yu Darvish (5-3) in the fifth inning.
"Jose's been really hot and he got the hanger and he did what you do," said Gibbons. "We battled all day. It was one of those games that could have gone either way because they have a really tough offence. One of the best ones in baseball."
The Toronto right-fielder's return to form in May has paralleled the team's. Bautista hit just one homer in April as his team slid down the standings and sent players to the disabled list with regularity.
Now the Jays are getting healthy, Bautista's hitting and most importantly, they're winning games.
Luke Maile reached on a walk and Devon Travis singled two batters later to set the stage for Bautista. Travis extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada (4-2) largely kept Texas batters off-balance all game with eight strikeouts over six innings of work. The only blemish came on his first pitch of the game when Shin-Soo Choo crushed his fifth homer of the season to dead centre before most of the 46,825 in attendance at Rogers Centre were even in their seats.
"I woke up in a really good mood and mentally was prepared for this game," said Estrada. "Usually day games are kind of tough. I'm not used to getting up so early. But I woke up feeling really good, came out to the ballpark and the bullpen went really well."
Roberto Osuna retired the Rangers in order in the ninth for his ninth save and second in as many nights. He finished the game by striking out Ryan Rua.
Darvish had the Blue Jays' number early. He didn't give up a hit until Kendrys Morales' one-out double in the fourth.
"On the previous at bat to Bautista, I was getting a reaction like I didn't think he was seeing the curveball or slider because he was moving back a little bit when I threw," Darvish said through a translator of Bautista's homer. "I was trying to get ahead in the count with my slider and just didn't execute the pitch."
The simmering feud between the two clubs is never far from mind and there was a reminder when Darvish hit Russell Martin with a pitch in the second inning. Martin, who started at third base, stared down the Texas pitcher on his way to first and then shared a few words with the Rangers dugout.
The game took three hours 16 minutes to play.