Devon Travis couldn't believe what he was hearing. Blue Jays third base coach Luis Rivera was telling him to go for a double steal, with Travis targeting home plate and catcher Luke Maile sprinting to second, to try and add to Toronto's lead against the Seattle Mariners.
"I looked at first and it was Luke. And no offence to Luke, he can run pretty good for a catcher, but I turned around and said 'right now?' " said Travis with a laugh. "Luis said 'yeah, right now.' So I did it. I saw the arm go and I took off."
Travis didn't move off third until Mariners catcher Carlos Ruiz threw to second to try to catch Maile. Second baseman Taylor Motter fired the ball back home but Travis slid under Ruiz's tag to score the final run in the Blue Jays' 7-2 victory over Seattle on Saturday for Toronto's fourth consecutive win.
The rare play added some insurance for the Blue Jays an inning after Jose Bautista's three-run homer broke the game open. Kendrys Morales hit a solo shot in his first game back after missing three games with a strained left hamstring. He wasn't in the Blue Jays (16-21) lineup until after batting practice because manager John Gibbons and the team's medical staff wanted to test out his legs before putting him back into action.
"I'm just getting the good pitches and I'm not missing them," said Bautista, who has three homers in his past four games. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and hopefully I'll continue to contribute. We're all showing up here every day to work hard and get wins and we've been doing that lately."
Home runs were the Blue Jays' bread and butter on their way to the American League Championship Series the past two years but with big guns Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki on the disabled list, Toronto found other ways to generate offence.
"I've definitely [stolen home] before, but it's not a play you see a ton," said Travis. "With that, and the fact that it was our guy Luke over there, it definitely surprised me. But we got it done. That was awesome."
Bautista was confident that Toronto had stolen home in some point in his nine and a half seasons with the team, but couldn't put his finger on it. His suspicions were correct: Russell Martin did it on June 2, 2015, also in a double steal, in Washington.
"If my memory was that good, I'd be frightened," said Bautista.
Marcus Stroman (3-2) gave up two earned runs but struck out nine over six innings. Jason Grilli, Aaron Loup, Dominic Leone, Joe Smith, Leonel Campos and Roberto Osuna gave up no runs in relief. Leone earned the win as the pitcher of record when Bautista homered.
Ryan Weber had an abbreviated start in his season debut for Seattle (17-20), throwing only 55 pitches before leaving the game in the middle of an at-bat in the fourth inning with tightness in his right shoulder. He gave up three hits and an earned run before giving way to lefty Dillon Overton, who pitched 1 1/3 innings.
Overton was followed by Tony Zych, Nick Vincent and James Pazos out of the bullpen.
Both teams wore alternate pink-trimmed uniforms and used matching bats and equipment in honour of Mother's Day.
Ezequiel Carrera's RBI single in the third gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead, driving in Kevin Pillar from second. It was Carrera's 17th straight game with a hit as a starter.
Ben Gamel hit a double to score Jarrod Dyson and tie the game 1-1 in the fifth before Stroman, who had "Love you Momma!" written on his pink cleats, struck out Nelson Cruz to end the inning.
Dyson gave Seattle the lead in the top of the sixth, singling in Danny Valencia from second.
Morales answered for the Blue Jays, smashing a pitch over the right-field wall and bringing the 42,346 in attendance to their feet.
Bautista hit his three-run homer into the second deck for a 5-2 Toronto lead.
Pillar added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, plating Ryan Goins and setting up the double steal.
Notes: Aaron Sanchez (0-1) will be activated off Toronto's disabled list to start Sunday's series finale. Mike Bolsinger (0-1) will face the Atlanta Braves on Monday in place of injured Franciscio Liriano.