Written by: The Dark Knight of Sports LaShawn Encarnacion
The 6-3 victory for the Toronto Blue Jays ended the series with the Texas Rangers and the American League Division Series and allow the team from Toronto to move onto the American League Championship Series, first time since their back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. This victory did not come without speculation, controversy, and at points, ugly scenes.
It all started when Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin made what appeared to be a very lackadaisical throw to the mound, one in which hit the bat of Shin-Soo Choo, who was standing in the batter’s box at the time. Under baseball rules, that meant it was a live ball and with the Rangers Odor at 3rd base, he noticed the play and ran for home. Home plate umpire at first, ruled a timeout on the play and asked for Odor to return to 3rd base, but after talking the play over with his colleagues, ruled the play valid for Odor and the run scored.
That ruling sparked both a very long debate and booth review and ended with the Blue Jays manager declaring the game played “under protest” from that point on. Empty beer cans, empty popcorn tubs began to rain down on the field as the fans were very unhappy with the call but that unhappiness would soon become poetic justice as the top of the 7th inning moved to the bottom.
There is an old superstition in basketball, a phrase when a call is obvious wrong; “The ball does not lie.” Well when the Royals took their turn in the 7th inning, it looked to become obvious that the baseball gods were fixing a wrong that was committed.
It was 3-2 when the Blue Jays came to bat. On three consecutive at-bats, the Rangers committed three consecutive errors, not a single ball had left the infield. Then came the Blue Jays MVP of the regular season, Josh Donaldson. With the Rangers playing everything to home plate, Donaldson managed to get a bloop fly ball just over the head of second baseman Odor and into the outfield. That hit did scored a run to tie the game a 3-3 but did force an out at second. So with two men on for the Blue Jays, into the batter’s box comes Jose Bautista, who delivers one of the most memorable plays in Blue Jays history. (Video courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRiI361tBRgIj1Unc8ChoWg)
The celebration of this home-run continued as fans seemed to be out of their minds, throwing empty beer cars, chucking popcorn bags in celebration. Next batter for Blue Jays, Edwin Encarnacion, tried to calm down the fans by raising and lowering his arms, Rangers in the dugout were calling for some ejections as they had spotted some fans who were throwing things, reliever Dyson took exception to what Encarnacion was doing which emptied the benches but after some delay, the final out was obtained and the 53-minute 7th inning finally came to a close.
The 8th and 9th innings went scoreless and the youngest closer in the game, Blue Jays 20-year old Roberto Osuna, got the save and the series victory in the bag for the Blue Jays.
With the Blue Jays victory, they move onto the ALCS to face the reigning and defending American League Champions, the Kansas City Royals. Game 1 of the ALCS is set to get underway on October 16th with a 7:30 PM EST start time of Fox/SportsNet broadcast outlets.
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