Jose Bautista shook the earth in a game for the ages

By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

I got home from work with a pizza just about the time chaos erupted at the Rogers Centre.

It was, what, close to 6:15 Wednesday night when I looked at the television to see a ball thrown by Jays catcher Russell Martin somehow end up rolling toward third base. Not knowing what really happened as I took off my shoes, I thought Martin had double-pumped a throw and the ball somehow left his hand inadvertently.

Then I found out Martin had hit the bat belonging to Shin-Soo Choo of the Rangers, setting off a charade of events that would follow. Rougned Odor came home to score on the Martin error, as the official scorer ruled it, and after a series of discussions involving the umpiring crew, the two managers and the people in New York checking replays, the run counted.

Choo was still in the batter’s box, the play was still alive and no time had been called by home-plate umpire Dale Scott, a veteran of decades as an arbiter.

Fans started throwing debris everywhere to dispute the call, allowing a bizarre run to score. But the Jays got their vengeance in the bottom half of the seventh. The Rangers made three errors, four, if you count Odor’s puzzling misplay of an innnocuous, seemingly innocent, short flare out his way by Josh Donaldson.

The third error made by shortstop Elvis Andrus came on what was an easy throw to him at the knees by third baseman Adrian Beltre, who was fielding a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Goins. Beltre walked away, putting his hands on his head, shaking in disbelief because Andrus didn’t catch his throw.

Then Jose Bautista, in the biggest home run in Jays’ franchise history since Joe Carter’s blast on Oct. 23, 1993, shook the earth in Toronto, all of Ontario, Canada and America with a mammoth shot off Sam Dyson to give the Jays a 6-3 cushion which they never gave up.

The flip of the bat by Bautista, an insult to the Rangers, showed Bautista’s passion nine times over. An unbelievable feeling for him, his teammates and fans in Toronto and the rest of the country.

My recollection of Carter’s home run is that Phillies reliever Mitch Williams threw down and in to Carter. And Dyson threw the same pitch, down and in to Bautista.

But, you know, there was still that feeling of edginess and concern even with a three-run lead. To see Roberto Osuna, all of 20, striking out the side in the top of the ninth was enlightening. It ended a bizarre last three innings that kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

A game for the ages.

 

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com