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Today in Blue Jays History: Encarnacion’s Walk-Off Homer

toronto blue jays and Balitimore Orioles play in the Wild Card game. Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Five Years Ago Today

In the 11th inning of the Blue Jays Wild Card game, Edwin Encarnacion hit a 1-out home run to give us a walk-off win of the Wild Card game against the Orioles. We won 5-2.

In the 11th inning, with the Orioles’ best reliever sitting in the bullpen (Buck Showalter was a genus), the Orioles brought in Ubaldo Jimenez into the game. With one-out, we got singles from Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson. At this point, I was sure Zach Britton would be coming into the game. But Showalter left Jimenez in there.

This happened:

We owe Buck a present of some sort. Maybe a lovely fruit basket.

Before that, we didn’t do much on offense. Jose Bautista hit a solo home run in the second inning, and Ezequiel Carrera singled home Michael Saunders in the fifth.

We hit into three double plays (despite only having seven guys on base all game). From the recap:

The one that hurt the most was in the 9th inning, Donaldson (off a leadoff double) and Edwin Encarnacion (intentional walk) on first and second with one out (Bautista strike out on a check swing) when Russell Martin ground one straight at third for an easy 5-4-3 double play.

Marcus Stroman was great for 6 innings. His one mistake was a Mark Trumbo 2-run home run.

Our bullpen did great work: Brett Cecil, Joe Biagini, Jason Grilli, Roberto Osuna, and Francisco Liriano pitched 5 shutout innings.

From the recap:

Jays of the Day: Edwin (.126 WPA, I thought it would be higher), Liriano (.214), Osuna (.195, please don’t be hurt), Grilli (.106), Donaldson (.284).

We won, so I’m not giving any suckage awards, but if I did: Travis (-.240), Martin (-.296), and Tulo (-.134).

There is a bunch of names there that are no longer with the team. Justin Smoak was the last hold out.

I remember thanking Showalter for helping us and someone on Twitter explaining to me, “If you put Britton in there, who gets the save?”. It did amaze me that people still believed you managed to the save.

Edwin would leave as a free agent after the season. He finished with 239 regular-season home runs (number 3 in Jays history) with the Jays (4 playoff home runs). Since then, Edwin has played for four different teams, Cleveland, Yankees, Mariners, and White Sox in 2020. In those four years, he hit .241/.344/.489 with 114 home runs.

If his career is over, he finishes with 424 home runs and a .260/.350/.496 line. Not a Hall of Fame career, but he would reach the Hall of Very Good easily.

The Jays would go on to beat the Rangers in the ALDS, three games straight.

Then we lost out to Cleveland in the ALCS in 5 games. That series featured some great pitching. Cleveland’s batters hit .168/.215/.329, and Blue Jays batters hit .201/.251/.283.