The TV commercials, which entice Blue Jays fans with the prospect of purchasing postseason tickets, were introduced from September into October in anticipation of a meaningful baseball broadcast.
There has been increased talk away from the clubhouse about the opportunity they have in the midst of this 15-game stretch against teams with a losing record.
The noise from outside is getting louder all right, and if the Jays don’t hear it, they certainly must be feeling it given the jaw-dropping games that happen all too regularly, including the recent dramatic win.
With that in mind, going into overtime in Oakland on Labor Day had to feel especially exciting, as the Jays posted a 6-5 win in extra innings against a pesky Athletics team that was anything but.
A team exhausted from arriving overnight in the Bay Area after an excruciating three-game series over the weekend in Denver put the brakes on the A’s comeback attempt, taking the first of three games and improving to 76-62.
With 24 games left, the Jays are still not in must-win territory, but it’s definitely time to take advantage of what’s happening around them. In fact, the win allowed them to come within half a game of the Texas Rangers and clinch the third and final wild card spot in the American League.
The Rangers lost 13-6 to the Houston Astros, the other player in what is now a three-way race for three spots in which the Jays are just on the outside.
But back to the recent on-field drama, the kind of game that feels like an everyday occurrence for the Jays, and a tenth turnover that was just enough.
While manager John Schneider kept his roster fluid – in part due to a series of injuries – pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal started the tenth with a leadoff double to sub in pinch-runner Mason McCoy.
While the skipper has raised some doubts recently, this one worked perfectly.
Considering there was some moaning about the team’s rookie Davis Schneider being left out of the lineup, Cavan Biggio was one of the substitutes and came on big in Espinal to give the Jays an important win. Earlier, Schneider’s go to Mr. Versatile added another run and made a great play at third base, a catch that might have denied the A’s a run of their own.
A brace from Spencer Horwitz brought Biggio in, extending the lead to 6-3 and ultimately serving as the winning run.
Did we mention that nothing comes easy for these Jays?
The A’s made things interesting in the 10th when leadoff hitter Lawrence Butler Jordan Romano brought the Jays closer with his second home run of the game, a two-run shot that pulled the A’s within one run.
Romano managed to close it out after that, but so far it’s been a tough four games for the bullpen on this six-game road trip.
With the win, the Jays moved to 6-4 in the first 10 games of this easier stretch of the schedule. The run continues with two more games against the A’s before heading to Toronto for three more games against the Royals.
Winning or losing every game now feels like a slog, even against perceived weaklings like the Colorado Rockies and the A’s, the two stops on this six-game road trip.
The Jays won two of three games in Denver, but it was a thrilling series from start to finish, with every game exceeding the three-hour mark.
Just like Saturday against the Rockies, the Jays blew a lead in the first of three games against the A’s, jumping to a 3-0 lead before giving the losing team anything but a chance to put the lead back in the game.
However, they never let the A’s take the lead, setting up the extra-inning heroics.
AROUND THE BASE
Jays starter Jose Berrios struck out 14 straight to get to two shutouts in the fifth game. But then A’s outfielder Butler hit a solo home run in the fifth, starting the comeback… Oakland hit two more solo long balls – another to Berrios and one to reliever Yimi Garcia to tie the score… The Lineup challenges continued for Schneider On Monday, Brandon Belt didn’t even report to the stadium after coming down with a stomach virus. Belt was ruled out of Sunday’s game in Colorado due to back problems.
The Jays will win anywhere they can get them at this point, but in breaking the A’s modest three-game winning streak, they improved to 41-32 on the road. It is simply this record that keeps them in the race.
One of the many disruptive factors of the season so far has been the Jays’ uneven home game. Despite playing in front of huge crowds every night, the Jays are in a very good position at the Rogers Center at 35-30.
They get a chance to boost those numbers with an important 10-game homestand (the longest of the season), starting with a three-game series against the Royals on Friday at Rogers Center.
https://torontosun.com/sports/baseball/toronto-blue-jays/blue-jays-need-extras-for-latest-heart-stopping-win-to-move-closer-to-wildcard-spot A pinch-hit double from Santiago Espinal starts the extra-innings rally