TORONTO - Brandon Morrow got the shutout but the Toronto Blue Jays were quick to credit Jose Bautista with the assist.
Morrow was brilliant in pitching his second three-hit shutout of the season in Toronto's 2-0 interleague victory Saturday against the New York Mets.
Morrow walked one batter and struck out eight during Toronto's fourth straight win, but it still came down to Bautista's throw from right field and the out call by second base umpire Brian Knight that was protested by the Mets.
After Scott Hairston walked, Mike Baxter singled with one out in the ninth. Hairston advanced to third but Bautista threw out Baxter as he tried for a double.
"That was huge," Morrow said. "(Bautista) made a great throw right on the money and got him, it was big to me."
Baxter and Mets manager Terry Collins protested the call as replays showed Yunel Escobar's tag at second missed the New York baserunner.
"He said he thought he tagged him on the back," Collins said. "I thought if he didn't have a good view of it (he should) ask and he said he couldn't, so that was it."
Daniel Murphy then lined out to Escobar to end the game.
"Sometimes we go out there when we really don't have any basis for it," Collins said. "But I knew he missed the tag so I went out."
Toronto (23-18) scored twice with three two-out hits in the fifth inning to send the Mets (21-19) to their sixth loss in the past nine games.
Morrow's other shutout this season was a three-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels on May 3.
"I'm getting ahead with the fastball," Morrow said. "Getting back in counts with the fastball. Locating it well on both sides of the plate against both right-handers and left-handers and that set the tone for the game. I had a curveball over for some strikes, got a couple of quick outs. Had a good slider when I needed it."
Mets starter Miguel Batista left the game after two innings with discomfort in his lower back. The 41-year-old former Blue Jay was replaced by right-hander Jeremy Hefner who was called up from triple-A Buffalo.
Batista allowed one hit and one walk, both in the second. Edwin Encarnacion's team leading 10th double of the season led off the second and Eric Thames took a walk with one out, but Batista ended the inning with a strikeout and a line drive to centre.
Batista said he felt his back on the 3-2 pitch to Thames. "I felt a pull there and it felt funny," Batista said. "After that I felt it every pitch."
Hefner pitched five innings and allowed four hits and two runs.
The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead into the fifth. Jeff Mathis singled with two out to start the rally and scored on a double by Kelly Johnson. Johnson advanced to third on an error by Mets centre-fielder Andres Torres and scored on Escobar's single.
Morrow did not allow a baserunner until Ronny Cedeno singled to right with one out in the third inning.
Bautista made a fine running catch going out toward the right-field wall on a line drive by Torres for the third out of the sixth inning.
"When the pitching is that good, and you only have to a score a few or come back from just a few, it makes it easier for the offence," Johnson said. "The offences go up and down during the season. But when they don't score you just have to get one."
The second baseman praised Bautista.
"Jose makes two great defensive plays," Johnson said. "The throw was huge. The catch at the wall was huge. They had some hard-hit balls right at us but at the same time Brandon threw such a good game and Jeff did such a good job back here too."
The Mets' other hit was a double to right by Lucas Duda with two out in the seventh. But Morrow ended the inning by striking out Ike Davis.
But it all came down to the ninth and the play at second.
"It was a scary situation," Johnson said. "You're looking at second and third with one out and the middle of their order. They still have (David) Wright on the bench. You just never know what can happen. That was a huge defensive play from our best player just going out there and playing that carom and making a heck of a throw and Yunel did a good job and made a great tag.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 34,962. ... Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin was demoted to make room for Hefner. ... Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia and outfielder Rajai Davis were back in the Blue Jays' lineup after each hit two homers in Friday's 14-5 win. Arencibia was the designated hitter, with Mathis behind. Davis started in centre field. ... Mets third baseman Wright, who leads the majors with a .409 batting average, had cold symptoms including a sore throat and did not start on Saturday. ... Toronto's Henderson Alvarez (3-3, 2.62 earned-run average) will start Sunday against New York's Dillon Gee (2-3, 5.65 ERA).