It’s good to be back, not that people really cared. After all, why care when baseball, and the terrible Raptors were still rolling. The Jays started the day 10.5 games behind the Orioles and were bringing the inconsistent Francisco Liriano to face Danny Salazar and the Indians in the rubber match. The Indians only had two players on their bench, with Chisenhall going down and Brantley not wanting to play on turf. Meanwhile the Jays were without Kendrys Morales and for that matter half the line-up due to injuries.
For the Jays, this meant Bautista would play DH, while Zeke would shift to right and Pearce to left. Goins and Barney made up the right side of the infield, with Luke Maile catching.
The game was always going to be less exciting after the first. After Liriano walked another lead-off man (the 21st walk he gave up this season), Smoaky made an error (it was scored a single) that left men on first and second without an out. To follow up Jason Kipnis doubled down the right field line to score two. Next up to the plate was Edwin, and yet again a standing ovation was given to the legend. He flew out to deep center, advancing Kipnis to third. Two pop-ups though ended the inning, and kept the score to a manageable 2-0.
The Jays would proceed to take the lead without even conceding an out. Pillar walked, then Zeke singled. On a full count, Joey Bats brought back the magic on a full-count, lining a rocket down the left field line for a three-run shot. After one the Jays had a 3-2 lead.
The second still had its moments, albeit rather odd ones. Liriano had a 1-2-3 second, with Almonte exiting the game for the Indians after injuring what looked like his shoulder on his swing. Devon Travis then led off for the Jays with a ground rule double, with Yandy Diaz in left field making a meal of an easy play. Devon though would fuck things up, being caught in a run-down on what would’ve been an infield hit by Darwin Barney. Travis got hung up, Barney’s single became an FC, and with that went the Jays chances of scoring in the second.
Liriano’s night would end in the 3rd, five straight batters reaching without an out being recorded. 2 walks and 3 singles leaving Liriano coming out with the Indians up 4-3 and the bases loaded. In came Dominic Leone, and he did nothing. With one out, Leone gave up a double that scored three, Guyer was out stretching for third. Yan Gomes followed up with a double before Leone got out of the jam. Heading into the bottom of the 3rd, the Indians were up 7-3. Despite Leone giving up two doubles, he wasn’t charged with any earned runs, instead Liriano’s night would end with 2 innings and 7 earned runs, giving up 3 walks and 5 hits
Things just continued to get weirder, Yan Gomes exited the game to be replaced by Roberto Perez. With that the Indians were out of fit position players, and the Jays would close the gap. After a Zeke groundout, Joey Bats walked and Smoaky doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out. Steve Pearce then advanced the runners on a sac fly, closing the gap to 7-4. Ryan Goins then lined one over the infield to bring home Smoaky and close the gap to 7-5. That would actually end Salazar’s night. In came Dan Otero who put out the fire, despite that going into the fourth, the score would be 7-5 Indians. Salazar pitched 2 and two-thirds, giving up 5 earned runs.
After a quick inning by Leone, the Jays would turn this game on its head again. After Barney got a leadoff double, Maile grounded out and Pillar hit a slow roller to third. This left two out and Barney on third. Zeke of all people would then crush a home run to right, levelling the scores. Zeke knew it was out the moment it left his bat as well, which led to the funny moment of him just standing at the plate for a good second, admiring the ball.
Both teams had men on base in the 5th, but neither team could cash them in. At this point the game devolved into its traditional bullpen game, with both pens finally stopping the opposing offenses, although Yandy Diaz dropping an easy fly ball should get a mention.
The Jays briefly threatened in the bottom of the 8th, after a Goins walk, Devon Travis sacrified to bring Goins round to second. Barney was swinging, and hit a grounder to Lindor, who didn’t throw the ball, presumably because of a bad grip on the ball. So, runners remained at first and second with one out. For reasons still unknown to me, Gibby kept Luke Maile in the game to hit, and sure enough, he grounded into the DP.
Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Jays were in walk-off territory. Zeke reached with a one-out single to give us a chance, before Joey Bats struck out. It would be up to Justin Smoak to give us a walk-off in regulation, somehow he walked from a 0-2 count. Then Steve Pearce strode up to the plate, he walked. So from a pretty unthreatening position, Ryan Goins had the chance to walk-off. And walk-off he did, a line-drive to right giving the Jays a 8-7 win in comeback fashion.
Somehow we won, despite substandard starting pitching, and being down four runs, and despite a twat of an umpire in Vic Carapazza. For those who don’t remember this guy, he’s the umpire who chucked out Gibby and Edwin on Canada Day last year (perhaps justifiably), and Russell Martin (definitely not justifiably) during the 19 inning marathon. Frankly the man should be shot, and his vendetta against the Jays continued again today, chucking out Pete Walker for arguing balls and strikes, which PitchX showed was inconsistent all night. What a wanker.
To wrap up, I’d like to talk about the positive reception the fans all gave EE upon his return to Rogers Center. It was nice to see both Edwin acknowledge the crowd upon being applauded, and the Jays fans not booing. Earlier in the season, the booing of Joey Bats made me sick, and those ‘fans’ should be kicked out and banned for life, so I was obviously apprehensive as to wehther or not we’d give Edwin the respect he deserves. Thankfully he was, and to top it all off, we still won two from three.
The homestand will continue tomorrow, with the Mariners coming to town and the Jays havig pretty much no pen. So, I hope TJ House comes up, because if he doesn’t (and note I love Danny Barnes), we clearly aren’t playing the options game the right way.
*this post was updated to reflect the fact taht it was game thirty-four of the season, not game twenty-four.