TORONTO BLUE JAYS MOVE ON TO TEXAS AFTER DEFEATING THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES IN EXTRAS WITH A DRAMATIC WALK OFF HOME RUN
This. Is. It.
Heart pumping, fist clenching, edge of your seat, hair on the back of your neck standing up baseball. A one-game playoff to determine who goes home bat and ball in hand and who moves on to face the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. A game in where every pitch matters, manager John Gibbons went with his gut and sent Marcus Stroman to toe the rubber for the most important game of the year. Stroman wouldn’t let Gibby down going 6 strong on route to an epic walk-off home run from Edwin Encarnacion.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 2 VS. TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 5
WP: LIRIANO (1-0) LP: JIMENEZ (0-1) SV: NOT BRITTON
— MLB (@MLB) October 4, 2016
The Blue Jays faithful themselves were worthy of a highlight tonight. From the first pitch to the winning blast, by all accounts, it was deafening in Rogers. Winfield wants noise? He would have been impressed with tonight.
The Blue Jays would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second from none other than Joes Bautista. Rogers Center erupted when Bautista deposited a ball into the left-field bleachers
Kevin Pillar was in full Superman form making an electric catch in the top of the fourth. With one away and Adam Jones on second Manny Machado would line a ball to right center. Kevin Pillar ranged to his right, however, and laid out to make the spectacular grab, holding Jones at second.
Troy Tulowitzki was on his game defensively as well. With one out and nobody on Jonathan Schoop would blast a ball toward short. Tulo laid out, vacuumed in the ball, stood, and fired a laser to get Machado at first.
Of all the superstars to be a hero on the Jays roster, Ezequiel Carrera was the one to step up and tie the game up for the Jays. After poor baserunning from Saunders, Zeke stepped up to the dish cashing him in with a blooper to center.
Stroman would turn in an impressive outing despite many questioning the decision to start him. Stroman went a strong 6 innings with a line of 4 H 2 R 2 ER 0 BB and 6 SO.
Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion weren’t going to be left out of the defensive showing either. With Cecil in to relieve Stroman, Matt Wieters chopped a ball off of the lefty towards third. Donaldson broke in to get to the ball quick, grabbing the slow chop with a bare-hand, firing it on to Edwin at first who made a fantastic scoop.
The Blue Jays pen that had been so shaky over the past few weeks performed incredibly admirably. The pen would combine for a line of 5IP 0H 0R 0ER 1BB and 6SO. This line would include contributions from Brett Cecil, rule 5 pick Joe Biagini, veteran Jason Grilli, young closer Roberto Osuna, and almost Wild Card starter Francisco Liriano.
Edwin. Encarnacion. Edwin walked off the Orioles in the bottom of the 11th blasting a monster home run to left field, sending the Jays to Texas. Just pay the man. The parrot deserves to be walked in Rogers center.
Mark Trumbo would keep the power rolling into the playoffs putting the Orioles up 2-1 in the top of the fourth. Immediately following the diving grab by Pillar, Trumbo plated Jones and himself on a short dinger to left. The home run put the Orioles up 2-1
Saunders had a chance to tie up the game in the bottom of the 5th after putting himself in scoring position on a ground rule double. Pillar would drive a ball into the right-field corner and due to a baserunning miscue, Saunders would have to hold at third.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Jays had an excellent opportunity to walk it off with Donaldson, Encarnacion, and Bautista coming to the plate. Showalter also gave the Jays a gift, keeping Zach Britton on his butt, leaving Zach Brach in. Donaldson took advantage, finally coming through to lead off the inning with a double. The Orioles wanted none of Edwin with Donaldson on, and intentionally walked him to put runners on first and second with none away. A Bautista strikeout, and Russell Martin GIDP let the Orioles off of the hook, though, pushing the games into extras.
NEWS & NOTES:
- Jose Bautista‘s home run would put him second to only Joe Carter for postseason bombs in Blue Jays history. Bautista now only trails carter by one long ball, 6-5
- The Blue Jays now advance and will play in the ALDS for the second straight year against the Texas Rangers.
*Featured Image Credit: Sportsnet (twitter) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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A group benefits consultant by day, Dustin is sports fanatic who loves talking sports more than anything. A self-glossed stats geek, he loves diving into the numbers behind the game. A proud father of 2 amazing kids, Dustin was born in Calgary, and now lives in Morinville.