TORONTO — Ben Revere laid down a perfect bunt and by the time the chaos ended was standing proudly on third base. From first to third the Toronto Blue Jays' final trade-deadline acquisition was flying.
Revere went 0-for-16 in his first five games with Toronto but on Thursday night was 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
"He couldn't get on base when he first got here," manager John Gibbons said. "Now they can't get him out."
Revere is batting ninth in a stacked lineup but has the speed in the outfield and on the base paths to make a major difference down the stretch and potentially into the post-season.
"I just come over here, just try my best, just get on base for the big hammer guys," Revere said. "If I get on base, nine out of 10 times I'm probably scoring."
Getting the 27-year-old from the Philadelphia Phillies at the deadline for two minor-league pitchers was done in part to replace the speed lost by sending Jose Reyes to Colorado for Troy Tulowitzki. Revere's speed was on display in a 9-3 win against the Minnesota Twins when he ranged to his left to make a good catch in left and most notably when he turned a bunt into the equivalent of a triple by taking advantage of an error.
"He gets on, he can wreak havoc on the bases," Gibbons said. "You saw with the bunt. They got a rush on that play. Most guys are at second base, he's at third on the overthrow."
Revere said he was "always good" as he was zipping around second and went head-first for third base. The speed that allowed him to steal 49 bases last season should produce plenty more runs for a Blue Jays lineup that goes Tulowitzki-Josh Donaldson-Jose-Bautista-Edwin Encarnacion after him.
That didn't help much when Revere was 0-for to start his Blue Jays tenure. But he said he wasn't pressing and just couldn't find the hits.
Now that he is, he's proving effective. Pitcher Mark Buehrle is glad he doesn't have to worry about Revere.
"He's a guy that puts the ball in play and when he does get on base, he's a pain in the ass because he can steal bases, he's going to go first to third." Buehrle said. "I don't like guys like that because you've got to focus on them when they're on first base. You can't just concentrate on the hitter."
That's no accident. Gibbons appreciates Revere's defence in left, but he and general manager Alex Anthopoulos last week decided to play him every day to get his contact bat at the bottom of the lineup.
With Revere's ability to get on comes his strength at running the bases. He likes getting in pitchers' heads and making an impact that way.
"That's definitely going to distract him and make him throw a bad pitch, especially this lineup if you do it's going to be out of the park," Revere said. "I'm trying to do as much as I can to try to get them psyched out so they can make that mistake and we can be up one run, two runs, three runs."
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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press