Blue Jays Clinch Emotional Victory And Advance To ALCS
Blue Jays return to ALCS for first time since 1993
After the Toronto Blue Jays ended their 22-year playoffs drought, it took another five games against the Texas Rangers to finally erupt the city’s emotion in Rogers Centre. In Wednesday’s winner-take-all Game 5, the Blue Jays took down the Rangers, 6-3, and advanced to the ALCS.
No other innings illustrated the emotion better than the 53-minute seventh in which the Rangers retook the lead on a bizarre play before the Blue Jays responded with four runs highlighted by Jose Bautista’s bat-flipping three-run homer.
In the top of the seventh, Russell Martin’s throw back to the mound, deflected off Shin-Soo Choo’s bat. Rougned Odor ran to the home plate on the incidental contact from third. Arousing boos from the crowd, the run eventually survived umpires’ review and Texas took a 3-2 lead on the unfortunate play. The next response came from the crowd as they started to toss bottles and cans onto the field, as high as the upper deck. Both teams were removed from the field until the fans were able to calm down and then play resumed.
The disturbance had yet to diffuse before the crowd got fired up again with Josh Donaldson’s game-tying RBI double. The volume got even higher with the next batter. Bautista, staring at the ball after sending Cole Hamels’ pitch to the sky, flipped his bat and trotted around bases. His three-run homer cleared out Toronto’s dugout and gave the home team a 6-3 advantage. It’s worth mentioning that the craze happened thanks to a little bit of help from Texas. The Rangers made three consecutive infield errors in the inning.
Toronto has waited long enough for joy. It did not get a chance to celebrate when the Blue Jays lost to the Rangers in the first two games of the series at home. The suppressed emotion continued even on Wednesday when Prince Fielder’s RBI single gave the visiting side an early lead in the first inning and Choo’s solo homer made Toronto trail by two in the top of the third.
The home team finally rewarded their die-hard fans chances to reveal their passion. And there were plenty of them. Bautista’s RBI single put Toronto on the board in the bottom of the third. Kevin Pillar made a gusty diving catch that left scratch on the grass in the fourth. And Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion ripped a solo homer to tie the score at two in the sixth.
The crowd’s emotion took off from there.