For the first time in 22 years, the Toronto Blue Jays have advanced to the American League Championship Series. The Jays defeated the Texas Rangers 6-3 Wednesday night in a win-or-go-home series finale at the Rogers Centre.
The game was decided in a bizarre, confusing and emotion-filled seventh inning.
The Blue Jays entered the seventh tied 2-2 with the Rangers. With one out, Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez missed the strike zone, bringing the count against Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to 2-2. When Jaysâ€™ catcher Russell Martin attempted to throw the ball back to Sanchez, it deflected off Chooâ€™s bat and rolled down the third-base line.
In that moment the Rangersâ€™ second baseman Rougned Odor, who was on third, bolted from home and scored on the play. Umpires first ruled the ball as dead, since it appeared to hit Chooâ€™s bat, but a crew of umpires reversed the decision. The result was that Odorâ€™s run counted, which left the Jays trailing as they headed into the bottom of the seventh.
The umpires were correct in allowing Odor to score, but it didnâ€™t help when Jaysâ€™ fans began throwing trash on the field directed towards the Rangers players.
Jays outfielder JosÃ© Bautista was not willing to his teamâ€™s season be decided on one bizarre play.
Entrenched in the batterâ€™s box, Bautista waited on a 1-1 offering from Rangers reliever Sam Dyson.
Then Bautista delivered the greatest home-run Toronto has seen since Joe Carter homered to clinch the World Series in 1993.
To say Bautista crushed Dysonâ€™s offering is an understatement. He hit the ball so hard that it landed right under Carterâ€™s retired nameplate in left-center field.
Before he trotted around the bases, Bautista emphatically flipped his bat in the air.
The Jays never looked back following Bautistaâ€™s three-run dinger, and the team clinched its first postseason series in more than 20 years.
Destiny seems to favor Canadaâ€™s juggernaut, a team that is unwilling to give up when itâ€™s faced with the most daunting challenges.
The Jays square off Friday against the Kansas City Royals.