(Toronto) In a matter of minutes, the final day of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 91-win season brought the players from seventh heaven to a ruthless reality check.
Updated Oct 3, 2021
The Blue Jays players returned to their locker room in a festive atmosphere after putting the finishing touches on a 12-4 victory that allowed them to complete their three-game series sweep against the Baltimore Orioles.
But as they began to glance at the various television screens, they saw the bad news unfold before their eyes. The Boston Red Sox had just taken a 7-5 lead in Washington against the Nationals.
“You never want to leave your fate in somebody else’s hands,” said outfielder George Springer, who hit two homers, including a grand slam that gave the Blue Jays a 9- 1 in the third round.
“But that’s how it happened, we were hoping for the best, but it didn’t happen. »
To be able to play a suicide game on Monday, the Blue Jays (91-71) needed to beat the Orioles, but also a defeat of the Red Sox or the New York Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, the Yankees (92-70) snatched a 1-0 victory thanks to a run at the end of the ninth inning. The Red Sox (92-70) trailed 5-1 after five innings before starting an irresistible comeback to finally win thanks to a two-run homer from Rafael Devers in the final inning, the result of a Aaron Judge’s single after an out.
“I wouldn’t say we let out a sigh of relief,” Judge said. We still have a lot of work to do. »
Several hundred spectators among the 29,942 fans who came to the Rogers Center remained in the stands to watch the last inning of the Red Sox game on the giant screen behind the center field fence.
Before the start of the day, there was a possibility of a quadruple tie, but the Seattle Mariners (90-72) suffered a 7-3 loss at home to the Los Angeles Angels.
The New York Yankees will face the Red Sox in the American League playoff game on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
The Blue Jays’ chances took a hit when they lost two of three games to the Yankees at home to enter the final week of the season.
“We never gave up”
Manager Charlie Montoyo felt the fact that the Blue Jays played their home games in Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo for the first four months made a difference.
The Blue Jays have gone 25-11 since returning to the Rogers Center in late July. Their 22-9 overall record in September and October was the best in the American League during that span.
Montoyo believes the struggle his young team has been engaged in to make the playoffs can’t help but help.
” [Les joueurs] have made a lot of gains from those games, Montoyo said. These were games we had to win. »
Montoyo met with his players after the team photo shoot, hours before the final series of the season begins on Friday. He told his players how proud he was of their season.
“We never gave up as a team, and we never let anyone else down,” said shortstop Bo Bichette.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run homer in the second inning for his 48e homer of the season, an American League high.
That long ball allowed him to set the record for the most home runs by a player aged 22 or younger, wiping out the mark of 47 that had held Eddie Matthews since 1953.
It’s sad, but we have to move on. I think it will make us a stronger team, a better team next year.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Guerrero finished the season with a .311 batting average and 48 homers. He ranked second on the Blue Jays with 111 RBIs, 5 behind Teoscar Hernandez.
Marcus Semien hit the Blue Jays’ fourth and final homer in the final game, to bring his total to 45. Guerrero and Semien became the first pair on a team in major league history to reach the plateau of 45 home runs, and the first since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox in 2005.
With Ben Walker, Associated Press