As Yogi Berra would have said, it was déjà vu all over again.
The Blue Jays completed one of their improbable victories of the 2017 season, storming back from a 10-4 ninth inning deficit to salvage a game in this weekend series against the Angels on the back of another walkoff grand slam by Steve Pearce.
They entered the 9th inning down 10-4 after a pretty miserable three hour or so to that point (but more on that later). The Angels brought in Brooks Pounders to finish the game, and the Blue Jays apparently took that as an invitation. After Ryan Goins walked leading off, Kevin Pillar promptly hit a two run home run (hopefully a sign he's going to brea out of his offensive malaise).
But whatever, it was still 10-6, with the 0-for-3 Rob Refsnyder up. He smashed a ground rule double, and that was end of Pounders. Unfortunately. Or so we thought at the time. Of course, Bud Norris is not exactly a shutdown closer. He gave up back-to-back singles to Ezequiel Carrera and Russel Martin, the latter an infield single that scored Refsnyder, to improbably bring the team's best hitter in 2017 to the plate as the tying run.
Of course, Justin Smoak would be the only guy to make an out in the 9th, though he did advance the runners to take the double play out of order for Kendrys Morales, which is useful in and of itself. Morales and Norris engaged in an extended battle, but Morales came out on top with a walk to load the bases and bring Steve Pearce to the plate as the potential game winning run.
And he delivered:
This wasn't going to be a very long recap, since the game up to that point was so bleak and appeared destined for a sweep, but a few of the major points:
Cesar Valdez couldn't replicate the good form he showed earlier this week in his second start with the Blue Jays. He allowed a two run home run to Albert Pujols in the 1st inning, but the bottom fell out in the 3rd inning as he got torched the second time through the order: triple, double, IBB to Mike Trout, RBi single to Pujols, fielder's choice and then a two run double that chased him.
Aaron Loup followed, and gave up some hard hits himself, including one to score the inherited runner and make it 7-1. He got into trouble in the 4th inning, and Mike Bolsinger got the last out of the 4th, and worked the next two innings. He was okay, giving up a run in each including a second home run to Pujols, which really didn't seem like it was going to matter much. Matt Dermody worked the last three innings, acquitting himself well in giving up only one run, though that fact did not appear it was going to be of much consequence.
Offensively, Carrera led off his Zeke-end start with a home run. They added three more in the 4th inning after back-to-back-to-back singles by Carrera, Martin and SMoak leading off. The latter scored one, Morales hit a sac fly, and Miguel Montero drove in the last with a groundout sandwiched around a double by Pearce. That briefly made it a made at 7-5, but the bats went silent until the 9th as the deficit was restored back to six runs over time.
Super Duper Jay of the Day: Pearce (+0.860 WPA). Pretty sure this is the highest since Chad Jenkins in the 19 inning game against Detroit a couple years ago.
Jays of the Day: Carrera (+0.139), Martin (+0.127). Honourable mention to Dermody for the 3 innings that sort of kept the in it.
Super Suckage (for the second straight day unfortunately): Valdez (-0.434)
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays are in Chicago to open a three game set with the White Sox at 8:05 EDT. The pitching match-up is currently slated to be Marco Estrada and James Shields, but we`ll see what the trade deadline does to that.