The Toronto Blue Jays had reached the postseason for the first time in over 20 years, and it was a disaster.
They had yet to win a game. The team that soared from the trade deadline onward looked deflated, already beaten.
They staved off elimination, and utter embarrassment, with a win in game three. Game four was another victory, and the luck was even for game five.
So was the score.
Then came the seventh inning. It took 53 minutes.
Shin-Soo Choo was at the plate. Russell Martin threw the ball back to the mound.
It hit Choo’s bat. It was a dead ball, the home plate umpire motioned. Except, according to the MLB Rulebook, it wasn’t. It was very much alive.
Rougned Odor scored. 3-2 Rangers, and at the Rogers Centre, mayhem ensued.
Trash rained onto the field. In the lower decks, families with babies were hit with raining debris from the 500 level.
“We’ve gotta get the players off the field,” said Harold Reynolds.
It was the bottom half of the inning.
Russell Martin hit a routine ground ball to Elvis Andrus — it was fumbled. Kevin Pillar hit a double-play ball to first base, thrown to Andrus at second — it was fumbled. Ryan Goins bunted, and Adrian Beltre threw the ball to Andrus at third — it was fumbled.
Three routine plays, three consecutive errors and four outs — and the bases were loaded.
Josh Donaldson hit an infield looper, just over the head of Odor. One run scores.
Jose Bautista walks to the plate.
“Bautista with a drive, deep left field, no doubt about it!”
Ball: Gone. Bat: Flipped. Bautista: History.
“You can only play with fire for so long.”