But after that slow start, Bautista now leads the Majors with 26 home runs, including a three-run shot in Thursday's series-opening loss to the Angels. Of his 26 home runs, 14 have come in June, a club record for homers in a month.
Manager John Farrell has said that the key to Bautista's recent success is the fact that his timing is much better than it was early on.
"I think because he is in one of those stretches where he is confident, he knows he is going to get a pitch some time in the sequence that he's going to handle," Farrell said. "I think that goes hand in hand with the confidence of a given guy. ... He hasn't missed many pitches in the zone."
The Angels have just as hot a slugger in Mark Trumbo.
With his homer in the fourth inning of Thursday's win, Trumbo has hit 13 home runs and recorded 35 RBIs since May 27, which is at or near the top of the Majors in both categories. His 18 home runs lead the Angels, and his .315 average is second on the team, behind Mike Trout's .345.
"In our whole offense, we're getting much more continuity, and really with our groupings in terms of getting things going," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Blue Jays: Another spot starter in Villanueva
After making 22 appearances out of the bullpen to begin the season, Carlos Villanueva will get his first start of 2012 on Friday. The righty hasn't allowed a run in his last five appearances, a span of 10 1/3 innings. He made 13 starts with the Blue Jays last season.
Though the Blue Jays have dealt with injuries to three of their top five starters this season, Farrell doesn't believe his team is just trying to hover around .500 in the meantime. They can't afford to look too far ahead.
"Whoever is available tomorrow, we will match up and prepare as best we can given the personnel that is available," Farrell said. "When we get a starter that can get into the middle to later innings, that makes it, I think, a little bit easier to manage day to day."
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez long tossed from flat ground on Thursday, and Farrell said he should be ready to start on Saturday. Alvarez was forced to leave in the sixth inning of Monday night's game because of soreness in his right elbow.
The Blue Jays' loss on Thursday was their third straight and fourth in their last five games. They have allowed 39 runs in their last five games.
Angels: Santana back on track
From the end of May and into June, it looked as though there was a chance Ervin Santana was pitching his way out of the rotation. While rookie callup Garrett Richards was posting stellar numbers, Santana had given up 23 runs in 20 1/3 innings.
But since June 16, the right-hander has been nearly unhittable. In his last two starts, he has given up two earned runs on just five hits while striking out 15. He pitched well against the Dodgers in his most recent start, but his defense let him down with two errors in the first inning, leading to a 3-1 loss.
With their fourth consecutive win on Thursday, the Angels have won 14 of their last 15 road games. They have won six of their last seven overall and 13 of the last 17 to move to a season-best 10 games over .500.
Thursday's opener moved the Angels to 3-2 against the Blue Jays this season. The Angels are 12-8 during the last three seasons at Rogers Centre.