Never in doubt! Blue Jays rally from down 6-0, blow a 10-7 lead in the ninth inning, and then escape with a win in extra innings

Evan Stack
1 year ago
Through all of the bad horas that have haunted the Blue Jays on the West Coast in recent years, today was a complete flip of the switch. After dropping last night’s game amidst several Angels home runs and trailing 6-0 in the early stages of today’s game, that hora was lingering. Furthermore, the Blue Jays faced Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, with all signs pointing to a walk off grand slam from either of the two best players in all of baseball.
But these are the 2023 “Next Level” Blue Jays, and this group found a way to win a wild game that was nothing but chaos down the stretch.
Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer both had RBIs in the 10th inning, and Tim Mayza retired Ohtani with the bases loaded to end the game as the Blue Jays beat the Angels 12-11 in extra innings on Sunday afternoon.
Mayza tag-teamed with Trevor Richards to get three monumental outs in the 10th. Richard did allow a run, walking Mike Trout with the bases loaded. However, Mayza got Ohtani to ground out to second, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slapping Mayza on the chest in celebration after finishing the play.
Let’s take a look at the players of the game and how we got to that wild ending.

Blue Jays Nation’s Players of the Game: Matt Chapman and Kevin Kiermaier

Chapman has been the MVP of the team so far, and he continued that performance today. Kiermaier, though, was just as important to today’s win, if not more.
Chapman was 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs, including a momentum changing grand slam in the 6th inning. He had another RBI single later on in the game.
Kiermaier also went 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs, including a two-run triple in the 6th and a tie-breaking ground rule RBI double in the 10th.
10 RBIs between those two is something nobody would’ve predicted to happen in a Jays game this year before the season started, but each one was critical to a W today.

Things worth mentioning

This game did NOT start well at all, and I’m not even talking about being down 6-0. Yusei Kikuchi had two outs in the first inning with Ohtani on base, and got Anthony Rendon to pop a ball up into shallow left field. Bo Bichette was backing up from short and Daulton Varsho was coming in from left, but both were visibly fighting the sun. The further the ball came down, the less likely it looked that the ball would be caught, as Varsho was positioned rather awkwardly as if he lost track of the ball.
The ball dropped about a foot from Varsho’s glove, and Ohtani scored from first as the ball hung in the air plenty of time for him to round the bases. It’s certainly worth the watch, at least for Angels fans, as “Rendon singled to left” doesn’t really do the play justice in the box score.
To make matters worse, the inning stayed alive, and Hunter Renfroe smoked a two-run home run two pitches later on a changeup from Kikuchi. 3-0 Angels.
Kikuchi was unfortunately charged with those three runs after the misplayed ball, and he ended up allowing six earned runs over 4 and 1/3, including a two-run home run from Ohtani.
The Jays seemed pretty lifeless on offense against Reid Detmers, a lefty that they struggled against last year. They found a groove in the 6th inning, as Springer, Bichette, and Guerrero reached base for Chapman, who sent a 93 mph fastball from Detmers over the right field wall for a grand slam.
That inning didn’t stop there, as Varsho got on base immediately after the slam with a classic drag bunt. Later on, with two on and two out, Kiermaier’s two-run triple tied the game at 6.
The Blue Jays took their first lead of the day in the 7th inning, as former Blue Jays Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup gave up three runs total. Chapman, Whit Merrifield, and Kiermaier all had run-scoring singles, as the Blue Jays had then scored ten unanswered runs.
Personally, I felt really good going into the 9th inning, as Jordan Romano was on the mound with the Jays up 10-7. Unfortunately, he loaded the bases with two outs, and ultimately allowed three runs to score to tie the game. He struck out Brandon Drury to end the 9th, and I’m glad he did, because Brandon Drury was the last person Jays fans needed to see walk off the game.
Kiermaier and Springer came through with RBIs in the top half of the 10th as I mentioned earlier, and the Jays led 12-10. Richards and Mayza were two of the few relievers left available, but they got the job done with a little stress here and there. Before Richards walked Trout to score a run, he nearly ended the game, as he got Trout to pop a ball up in foul territory. Much like Varsho’s play earlier, Alejandro Kirk misplayed the ball, and it dropped foul.
Toronto has a much deserved off day tomorrow, and will face Detroit in the home opener on Tuesday evening with The Big Man on the mound.


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