Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Toronto. (Chris Youn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Blue Jays advance with wild win

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first trip to the American League Championship Series since 1993, overcoming one of the most bizarre plays in playoff history when Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer after three Texas Rangers errors for a 6-3 victory Wednesday in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series.

The Blue Jays became the third team to win a best-of-five series after losing the first two games at home. They play the winner of Game 5 between Houston and Kansas City later Wednesday. Game 1 of the ALCS is Friday night.

Bautista’s homer capped an event-filled, 53-minute seventh inning that took a turn when Toronto catcher Russell Martin’s throw back to the pitcher deflected off batter Shin-Soo Choo and allowed the tiebreaking to score.

“It’s the most emotionally charged game that I’ve ever played,” Bautista said.

The Blue Jays filed a protest after an umpire review ruled Rougned Odor was allowed to cross home plate. Toronto fans pelted the field with debris during the 18-minute delay.

The Rangers started the bottom half by making three straight errors, and Toronto rallied. Benches cleared twice in the Blue Jays’ half of the inning.

Roberto Osuna got the final five outs for his first postseason save.

Osuna turned toward the outfield after striking out Wil Venable, looked to the sky and was mobbed by his teammates as jubilant fans rocked the Rogers Centre.

After Edwin Encarnacion tied it 2-all with a second-deck drive off tough-luck loser Cole Hamels in the sixth, Odor led off the seventh with a single and went to third on a sacrifice and groundout.

With Choo up, Martin’s throw back to reliever Aaron Sanchez deflected off Choo and dribbled toward third base.

Home plate umpire Dale Scott initially ruled it a dead ball but, after Rangers manager Jeff Banister questioned the call, the umpires huddled and Odor was sent home.

“I just caught the ball and threw it back very casually and it hit his bat and then next thing you know run scores. It’s never happened in my life before,” Martin said. “It’s just one of those moments, and it created an opportunity for us to do something special.”

Fans littered the field with objects during the delay as umpires sorted out a play that is certain to rank up there with Derek Jeter’s Jeffrey Maier homer or Reggie Jackson’s hip block of a throw as one of the craziest in the postseason.

According to rule Major League Baseball rule 6.03(a)(3), the batter is not to be charged with interfering with the catcher if the batter is still in the batter’s box and doesn’t make a movement to block or disrupt the throw.

This type of play is not subject to manager’s review but Scott, the crew chief, after discussing the ruling with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, called an umpire’s review. After a delay of 2 minutes, 32 seconds, the play stood and fans continued to throw objects on the field.

The Blue Jays filed a protest.

No need for the paperwork, though.

The Rangers made three consecutive errors to start the bottom half, with Martin reaching on a fielding error by Elvis Andrus to start it off.

Kevin Pillar followed with a grounder to first but Martin was safe at second on an errant throw by Mitch Moreland.

After Dalton Pompey pinch ran for Martin, Ryan Goins followed with a sacrifice bunt. Adrian Beltre fielded the ball and threw to third, but Andrus dropped the ball for his second error of the inning, loading the bases for Ben Revere.

Revere grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Moreland throwing Pompey out at the plate.
After Sam Dyson relieved Hamels, Josh Donaldson tied it at 3 with a flare just beyond the reach of Odor at second, but Revere was forced out.

Bautista followed with a towering drive into the second deck, glaring at Dyson as he stood at home plate to admire his go-ahead drive, enthusiastically flipping his bat away.

With some fans continuing to litter the field, Edwin Encarnacion turned to face the crowd and appealed for calm, lifting his bat and helmet over his head. Dyson took exception and walked over to confront Encarnacion, leading to both dugouts and both bullpens emptying.

During the scrum that was quickly dissolved, 20 Toronto police officers stood across the outfield, while others stood along the foul lines. Police later stood on the roof of the Rangers’ first base dugout before the bottom of the ninth.

Encarnacion and Chris Colabello both singled when play resumed, but the bat-around inning ended when Troy Tulowitzki fouled out. Dyson made contact with Tulowitzki as he walked off, leading to another benches-clearing confrontation, with catcher Chris Gimenez shoving Tulowitski before the scrum was broken up.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Legal challenge halts SFPD jurisdiction over dog attacks on federal land

Dog owners beware — canine attacks are now consequence-free on federal land… Continue reading

New drug court hearing for man who ate cookie without permission

The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office will ask the San Francisco Superior… Continue reading

49ers battle with the Saints lives up to its billing

Kittle’s 39-yard catch-and-run had placed San Francisco in prime position for a game-winning field goal as the 49ers trailed 46-45

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Not even heavy rain can stop the 25th annual SantaCon

Jolly, drunken fun event for Santas is the ‘least wonderful time of the year’ for many locals

Most Read