Never in Doubt: Boston’s baserunning blunder in the 9th caps off a wild 5-4 Blue Jays win
Photo credit:© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack3 months ago
As the ball left Connor Wong’s bat in the ninth inning, several Jays fans were already thinking, “Not again…we just blew another game.”
Fortunately, things turned in Toronto’s favour, as a dreadful base running mistake from former Jay Reese McGuire capped off Toronto’s 5-4 win over Boston on Saturday afternoon. With one out in the ninth, Boston had runners on first and second with McGuire as the lead runner. Wong skied a fly ball to left field, but McGuire immediately threw his hand in the air celebrating as if it was a home run.
Apparently, third base coach Carlos Febles believed that as well, as McGuire went as far as halfway past third base. Kevin Kiermaier made a great catch at the wall, though, and he threw the ball into the infield to double up McGuire and secure the win.
McGuire’s error on the base paths came a half inning after Toronto made one of their own. Santiago Espinal was doubled off at second base himself after assuming Alejandro Kirk would tag and score on a shallow potential sacrifice fly.
Things worth mentioning
With the exception of one pitch, Jose Berrios put together another good start for Toronto. He tossed 5.2 innings allowing six hits, three runs, zero walks, and six strikeouts en route to his ninth win of the season. He was cruising through the first three innings, but ran into a little trouble in the fourth when he gave up back-t0-back singles with no outs. Rafael Devers was the next batter, with Berrios starting him off with three consecutive slurves below the zone. Berrios threw him a fourth one, and although it was in a very low spot, Devers had seen one slurve too many and he crushed it for a three-run homer.
In the sixth inning, Berrios recorded the first two outs quickly, but followed that up by hitting Devers with a pitch and allowing a double to Adam Duvall. John Schneider elected to take Berrios out, with Jose showing obvious frustration that he was not allowed to finish the inning. Genesis Cabrera struck out Rob Refsnyder to end the threat and thereby preserving the lead for the Jays.
Brandon Belt got the scoring started in this one with a solo home run in the third inning off of Nick Pivetta. It was Belt’s 10th home run of the season, and his second home run of the season off of Pivetta. It’ll probably fly under the radar, but Belt’s 2-for-4 afternoon was important for the Jays due to the Red Sox throwing four right-handed pitchers out there as a part of their bullpen day. Seven of the nine Blue Jays starters were righties, so Belt made his at-bats count.
Later in the third, George Springer ended up at second base as a Devers error turned an infield single into putting Springer in scoring position. Alejandro Kirk took immediate advantage, smacking a double in the left field gap and scoring Springer. Kirk was a late add to this afternoon’s lineup as Danny Jansen was scratched due to right wrist inflammation.
Two batters later, Daulton Varsho hit an RBI single to left field to score Kirk on a nice piece of hitting on a slider in the top of the zone. So many times this year, we’ve seen Varsho swing right through pitches at the top of the zone, so it was good to see him get a piece of one today. Varsho also made a couple of nice over-the-shoulder grabs in the deepest part of the park to continue his exemplary defensive play this season.
Belt came through with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single to break a 3-3 tie, part of the team’s 5-for-12 mark with RISP. Aside from those responsible for the RBIs, Davis Schneider rocked a 3-for-3 day, and Springer had a 4-hit game, his third game with such accomplishment.
Both Tampa Bay and Houston lost earlier today, so the Blue Jays gained an entire game on the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. They are now just a game back of Houston for the second Wild Card spot, and 4.5 games back of Tampa Bay for the first spot.
What’s Next: From not having beaten Boston all season to now having a chance to sweep them, that’s exactly where Toronto will find themselves when Chris Bassitt takes the mound tomorrow afternoon. The Red Sox have no scheduled pitcher for tomorrow yet, as they’ll likely go with another opener given the injuries they’ve suffered to their starting rotation.
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