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#TBT: Tony Fernandez’s Return, The First Marathon, and A Nine-Run Inning At Fenway

Bored?! Here’s a bunch of cool and random stuff that happened between June 8th and June 15th in Blue Jays history!

June 8, 2013: Playing marathon games is an annual Blue Jays tradition. Last season on Canada Day, the Jays dropped a 19-inning affair with Cleveland in which Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney took the mound, and in 2014, the Jays dropped the Tigers in a 19-inning game walked off by Jose Bautista. The tradition began in 2013 when the Jays and Texas Rangers played 18 innings.

There’s a lot going on here worth talking about. Colby Rasmus hit a little league home run to give the Jays a 3-0 lead early in the game, but Casey Janssen blew it in the ninth. The Rangers almost went ahead in the 10th, but Jose Bautista gunned out Lance Berkman at home. Dustin McGowan made his first appearance since 2011 that game, and Juan Perez was in the middle of his ridiculous 22 1/3 scoreless inning streak. The star of extra innings for the Jays was Brad Lincoln, grinding through four scoreless relief innings before Rajai Davis walked it off with a single.

The Jays and Rangers were one-upped that day, though. The Marlins beat the Mets 2-1 in a 20-inning affair, improving Miami’s record to a very impressive 17-44. Old friend Shaun Marcum pitched eight innings (!!!) in relief for New York, but the Mets couldn’t be bothered to score him a run. He ended up taking the loss despite his line being eight innings, five hits, no walks, seven strikeouts, and one earned run.

June 10, 2013: Let’s stick with the 2013 Blue Jays because they’re just so damn memorable. On June 10, the series opener between the Jays and White Sox was delayed because of an absurd amount of fog. In the third inning, Adam Dunn clubs a homer off of R.A. Dickey that nobody was able to see. The game was delayed for a few minutes, and the Sox eventually won 10-6. After that game, though, the Jays went on an 11-game winning streak, bringing them all the way up to 38-36. Of course, it was all just a tease.

June 11, 1993: The Blue Jays acquire Tony Fernandez from the New York Mets in exchange for Darrin Jackson. Back in December 1990, Fernandez, a Blue Jays legend, was involved in a controversial trade in which he was shipped to San Diego along with Fred McGriff for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.

As we know, Alomar and Carter played major roles in the 1992 and 1993 World Series wins, but it was a difficult pill for Jays fans to swallow at the time. It was fitting that Fernandez was re-acquired by the Jays in 1993, though. He ended up playing a big role in the World Series, collecting seven hits and nine RBIs against the Phillies.

Fernandez left Toronto as a free agent that winter, signing a deal with this Cincinnati Reds, but came back to the Jays again in 1997 as a free agent, and then one more time in the middle of 2001 before retiring. Fernandez has his name on the Level of Excellence, leads the franchise in all-time hits, games played, defensive WAR, and ranks in the top-10 in almost every statistical category for position players.

June 12, 2015: The 2015 season was incredible. That team was magic. It’s hard to pin point the best moment from that season because there were so many. But this might be it. On June 12, the Jays rallied back from an 8-1 deficit to beat the Red Sox 13-10. And it came at Fenway nonetheless, prompting a Boston commentator (I can’t remember who for the life of me) to say the team had hit rock bottom and that it was one of the worst moments in Sox history.

Drew Hutchison started for the Jays and got completely lit up. Hutch was tagged for eight earned runs (three coming on homers) in two-and-one-third innings of work. Bo Schultz, Steve Delabar, and Aaron Loup came in and slammed the door for four-and-two-thirds, giving the Jays a chance to crawl back. Actually, crawl would be an understatement. The kicked the fucking door down and blasted their way back.

In the fifth inning, with just a three per cent win probability, the Jays lineup went to work, scoring four runs off of Joe Kelly. The Sox shut them down for a couple innings, but then, in the seventh, it exploded. Kevin Pillar led off with a single and Ryan Goins promptly doubled him home. 8-5. Then Jose Reyes came to the plate and singled home Goins. 8-6. Junichi Tazawa came into the game for Boston, but that didn’t help. Josh Donaldson singled, then Jose Bautista singled Reyes home. 8-7. Edwin Encarnacion singled to load the bases for Chris Colabello. There’s still nobody out. Colabello hits what should be a double play ball to the newly-signed $95 million Pablo Sandoval, but the Panda boots it. Everyone’s safe. 8-8.

Then the dagger. Russell Martin comes to the plate and hits a frozen rope to centre field over the head of Rusney Castillo for a bases-clearing triple. 11-8. For good measure, Justin Smoak comes up and clubs a two-run bomb to add to the lead. 13-8. In the inning, the Jays score nine runs before the Sox are able to record an out, going from a win probability of nine per cent to 96 per cent just like that.

The Jays winning streak extended to nine with that win. It would come to an end at 11 a few days later when the team blows a lead against the Mets, but that winning streak was when we all realized that this team could be a contender. It was still so so soooo deeply flawed, but like I said, they had a certain magic to them. Games were never over until the last out was recorded.