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Blue Jays fans tip their caps to Jose Bautista during win over Yankees

Jose Bautista waves to Blue Jays fans in a game against the Yankees on Sept. 24, 2017.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The crowd erupted for the umpteenth time in Jose Bautista's honour, as he slowly made his way out of right field and out of the game, even though there was only one out in the bottom of the ninth inning against the New York Yankees.

Sunday's game at Rogers Centre was not officially over, but it was for Bautista – a classy move by manager John Gibbons to ensure that one of the greatest players in franchise history was afforded one last moment in the spotlight as his career winds down.

"The fans took care of him all day long, as they should have," Gibbons said afterward.

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The cheers washed over Bautista as he went over to Kevin Pillar in centre field and exchanged the first of several hearty hugs and handshakes with his teammates as he moved across the diamond.

As he approached the dugout, Bautista tipped his cap and waved at the sellout crowd of more than 47,000, most of whom were still around at the end of a meaningless game, at the end of a trying season, a testament to Bautista's huge appeal.

The 36-year-old disappeared into the dugout, but emerged moments later after the fans demanded one last curtain call.

"A lot of good emotions," Bautista said about what transpired on Sunday. "It's good to be recognized and it's good to feel the love. I appreciate everything that happened."

It was the final home game of the season for the Blue Jays, and they went out in style, mashing the Yankees 9-5.

While Blue Jays supporters are still coming to grips with Toronto missing the postseason for the first time in three years, all that angst was put aside, at least for one day.

While many NFL players took a knee or made other gestures during to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday, the Yankees and Blue Jays players stood politely while the U.S. and Canadian anthems were played.

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New York rookie sensation Aaron Judge added his 47th and 48th home runs this season. Toronto's Teoscar Hernandez went long for the third successive game. Teammate Russell Martin had two doubles and three runs batted in.

Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (13-8) went 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs and five hits to earn the win.

But the day belonged to Bautista, who in all likelihood will not be back next season if the Blue Jays do not trigger the option clause of his contract. That's a likely scenario, given the veteran's performance slippage this year.

That did not prevent the fans or his teammates from providing a fitting farewell to one of the franchise's all-time favourites. Bautista was cheered at every opportunity – even when he ran onto the field to stretch before the game started.

Stroman even donned an old Bautista jersey and wore it for his pregame warmup in the Toronto bullpen.

Bautista responded to the attention by collecting two hits in four at-bats with an RBI and a walk.

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"The focus was Jose today, what he's done in this town, this organization, the country," Gibbons said. "He helped rebuild the team and was the face of the franchise for a number of years. And he did it the right way – threw a couple of knocks [hits] out there and walked, too.

"Nice going, Jose."

And in a move planned by the players, Bautista was allowed to head onto the field alone and take up his position in right field before the first pitch.

"I kind of took a peek back and I noticed so I just kept going because I didn't know what else to do," Bautista said. "But I thought that was a lot of fun."

Not really knowing what else to do standing out there by himself, Bautista finally started clapping back and then extended a hand, as though waving goodbye.

Throughout the game, Bautista received a standing ovation every time he came to bat. A first-inning single added to the hysteria.

Pillar said that it was only fitting that the day was devoted to Bautista.

"Give him the credit that he deserves," Pillar said. "He's been a huge part of this franchise for a long time and obviously with his future being uncertain we wanted him to go out in Jose fashion."

Bautista said the attention has been a bit awkward as the season winds down. He said he has no idea what the future might hold.

"I know that I want to come back," he said. "I've always been clear about that, it's never going to change. And I've said it before, I'd be stupid not to."

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