One year removed from going 5-7 in extra-inning games, the Blue Jays went 13-4 in those contests in 2011, including an impressive 11-0 at home.
Whether it was Yunel Escobar‘s two-run homer in the first week of the season, Travis Snider‘s epic, game-winning double after breaking his bat out of frustration earlier in the game, or Brett Lawrie‘s moon shot that gave the Jays a 1-0 win over Boston late in the year, there were a lot of great walk-off moments for the Jays this past season.
Here’s a refresher on all 11 walk-off wins, complete with brief game summaries, embedded MLB.com videos, and a poll at the end for you to vote for your favorite.
Tuesday, April 5 vs. Oakland: Jays win 7-6 off Escobar’s home run
By the middle of the fourth inning, Jo-Jo Reyes and the Jays found themselves in a 5-0 hole but managed to tag A’s starter Brandon McCarthy for one run in the bottom half of the frame to cut the deficit to four. Then, with a four-run sixth and five consecutive scoreless innings of relief, the Jays managed to push the game to extra innings.
Things didn’t go as planned in the top half of the 10th, as Josh Willingham led off with a solo home run off Jason Frasor to put Oakland up 6-5. That didn’t matter to Escobar, though, who, after Rajai Davis singled before him, knocked the first pitch he saw over the wall in right field to give the Jays a crazy 7-6 walk-off victory.
Tuesday, April 19 vs. Yankees: After breaking bat, Snider gives Jays 6-5 win
The Blue Jays found themselves down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth and, to make matters worse, Hall of Fame Yankees closer Mariano Rivera trotted in to notch the save.
The baseball gods had a different plan, though, as an uncharacteristic wild pitch from Rivera made it a 5-4 game, and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt from John McDonald tied it. With the bases loaded and only one out, it seemed like the Jays were going to walk off with the win right then and there, but Corey Patterson grounded into a double play to send the game to extras.
After breaking his bat out of frustration earlier in the night following one of his three strikeouts, Snider, who was 0-for-5, stepped in with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. Overcoming an emotional night, Snider ripped a double to the gap in right-center that scored Edwin Encarnacion all the way from first to give the Jays an epic 6-5 win over the Bronx Bombers.
Friday, April 22 vs. Tampa Bay: Johnny Mac homers
Despite a big night from Jose Bautista where he went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and fell a double short of the cycle, the Jays still found themselves tied 4-4 with the Rays when the ninth inning ended.
After solid relief from Shawn Camp, the Jays had the go-ahead run on base when Juan Rivera tapped a one-out single to center field. Then, picking a great time to hit his first home run of the season, Johnny Mac ripped a no-doubter to left field to give the Jays the 6-4 walk-off victory over the Rays.
Tuesday, May 10 vs. Boston: Cooper’s big day ends with walk-off sac fly
In an off day for Red Sox starter Jon Lester where he allowed five earned runs and five walks, the Jays were unable to capitalize thanks to an equally disappointing start from Kyle Drabek. Their 3-0 lead at the end of the first inning was quickly erased, but they managed to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
The Red Sox tied it in the top of the eighth, but David Cooper, in his first at-bat of the game, answered in the bottom half of the frame with his first career home run to put the Jays up 6-5. But in the ninth inning, the pesky Red Sox just wouldn’t go away, as Adrian Gonzalez tied the game with one swing and forced extra innings.
After stroking a one-out single, Rajai Davis stole second and third on consecutive pitches to put the winning run just 90 feet away. That brought up Cooper once again, who knew exactly what he had to do and knocked a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Jays the 7-6 win.
Saturday, May 28 vs. Chicago: Patterson’s shot in the 14th seals it for Jays
After seeing their lead evaporate twice in the game already, the Jays went up by two with a three-run seventh inning. Despite Bautista, Rivera, and Aaron Hill supplying all of the Jays’ runs, the White Sox rallied with a run of their own in both the eighth and ninth innings to force extras.
But Luis Perez was sensational out of the bullpen and allowed just two hits in 3.2 scoreless innings of work before Corey Patterson smacked a solo home run – his season-high fifth hit of the game – in the bottom of the 14th to give the Jays the 9-8 win.
Tuesday, June 14 vs. Baltimore: Lind’s HR snaps four-game slide
Leading 4-1 after four frames, the Orioles made it a one-run game in the top of the seventh after scoring a pair of runs. AaRon Hill added a key insurance run in the bottom half of the inning when he hit a solo home run off of former Blue Jay Jeremy Accardo, because the Orioles added another two runs in the eighth to tie the game and eventually send it to extras.
Adam Lind made sure that the Jays wouldn’t lose a fifth-straight game, though, when he led off the bottom of the 11th with a high home run to the second deck in right field to give the Jays the 6-5 win.
Tuesday, July 19 vs. Seattle: Johnny Mac’s sac fly in the 14th wins it
After being tagged for five runs in the game’s first two innings, starter Brett Cecil settled down to throw five shutout frames after that. That proved to be important, as the Jays tied the game at five with a three-run seventh capped by a Jose Bautista RBI single. Both teams failed to score in their final two innings, though, so the Jays headed to extra innings for the seventh time in 2011.
Six Toronto pitchers combined to throw seven scoreless inning s of relief, which allowed John McDonald to win the game, which lasted over four hours, on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 14th inning. Exactly like he did two months prior, Rajai Davis got on base with a single before stealing second and third to make the walk-off win possible.
Sunday, August 14 vs. Los Angeles: Jays tie it in ninth, walk off in the 10th
Never leading in the game and playing behind all afternoon, the Jays trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth. After Colby Rasmus stroked a one-out double to right field, Lawrie, playing in just his ninth Major League game, smacked a double of his own to tie the game at four. He proceeded to steal third base right after his game-tying hit, but J.P. Arencibia was unable to cash him and struck out, sending the Blue Jays to extra innings once again.
After Adam Lind popped out with runners on first and second in the 10th, Edwin Encarnacion stepped in with two out. He made no mistake, though, ripping a single off of Hisanori Takahashi that scored Yunel Escobar to complete the 5-4, come-from-behind win.
Monday, September 5 vs. Boston: Lawrie’s solo HR caps thrilling 1-0 win
When Josh Beckett limped off of the mound with an injured ankle in the fourth inning, the Red Sox were forced to adapt in the best way possible or risk falling behind another crucial game to the Yankees in the AL East standings.
Despite recovering from Beckett’s departure quite well, the Jays wound up prevailing in a nail-biter that was scoreless for 10 innings. But in the 11th, Red Sox right-hander Dan Wheeler missed his spot with a fastball and Brett Lawrie, continuing to live up to the hype, clobbered a towering solo home run to not only give the Jays the 1-0 walk-off win, but drop the Red Sox to 2.5 games behind New York — their biggest deficit since in over two months.
Monday, September 19 vs. Los Angeles: Jays walk-off against five-man Angels infield
It’s not very often that a team could lose a game when their starter gives them nine innings of two-run ball, but that’s exactly what happened to the Blue Jays on this night.
Ricky Romero certainly pitched like a frontline starter, holding the Angels to two runs on six hits with five strikeouts in nine dominant innings, and both runs came off of solo homers. The Angels, however, held Toronto to two runs as well, and the Jays unfortunately stranded two runners in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the ninth. So, Romero had to settle for the no-decision as his club headed to extra innings yet again.
But after two defensive miscues from the Angels put runners at first and third, Adam Lind grounded a 2-0 pitch to the “infielder” Torii Hunter who had come in from center field. Hunter’s throw to the plate was offline, and the Jays remained undefeated in extra-inning games at Rogers Centre with a 3-2 walk-off win.
Thursday, September 22 vs. Los Angeles: Encarnacion’s walk-off HR wins Jays home finale
With the Jays having won so many thrilling games at home already in 2011, it only seemed fitting that they’d close out their home finale in walk-off fashion as well.
Henderson Alvarez kept the Angels in check, holding them to three runs over seven innings, and the Jays managed to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. The bullpen did the rest, as five relievers each threw a scoreless inning to set the stage for Edwin Encarnacion’s heroics in the 12th inning.
Leading off the frame, Encarnacion worked a full count before depositing the seventh pitch of the at-bat, an 84 MPH slider, into the left field seats to give the Jays the 4-3 win and round out their home record at 42-39. The win also marked the third time that the Jays beat the Angels in extra innings at home in 2011.
So, which Blue Jays walk-off win was your favorite in 2011?