Top moments of 2014: the comeback
It was June 20th. The Jays were still in the heat of a playoff race after an unbelievable month of May and strong start to the month of June. The Jays were in Cincinnati looking to improve upon their 2-5 win-loss record for the road trip thus far.
Liam Hendriks was given the ball in a spot start against the formidable Mat Latos but was brutal to say the least. Hendriks managed to get out of the first inning but was pulled in the second after allowing six earned runs giving way to Todd Redmond who allowed two more before inning’s end. The Jays were in a hole once again, and fans (even myself) rolled their eyes mouthing the chorus of Whitesnake hit, “here we go again.”
But this time, the Jays didn’t roll over. In the second, Edwin Encarnacion did his part, chipping away at the 8-0 deficit with a three-run home-run to left-centre, good for his 22nd homer of the season making it 8-3.
The Jays continued to nip at the Reds lead, scoring two more in the sixth virtue an Adam Lind single and Jose Bautista bases loaded walk, cutting the lead to 8-5. In the seventh the Jays prolonged the offensive as Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco both homered, trimming the lead to 9-8.
Finally, in the 8th, the Jays completed the comeback. With Encarnacion on first, and two out, Dioner Navarro drove a double to left-centre, driving in Encarnacion all the way from first, knotting the score at 9-9.
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With everything seeming to go the way of the Jays, the Reds brought in the unhittable Aroldis Chapman; the fun appeared to be over. However on this night, for whatever reason, even he couldn’t halt the Jays momentum.
The flame-throwing closer started the inning by walking Colby Rasmus. Munenori Kawasaki followed with a sacrifice bunt, moving Rasmus into scoring position. Erik Kratz shadowed with a double off the left-field fence, driving in Rasmus for a 10-9 lead. Melky Cabrera joined in on the Chapman roast with his own two out RBI single, increasing the lead to 11-9. Finally, after walking Jose Bautista, Chapman’s night was over as he was pulled in favour of Sam LeCure.
It’s hard to argue LeCure was ready for the game as he began his appearance delivering a three-run home-run to Encarnacion to finalize the lead at 14-9.
The Jays brought in Casey Janssen to close the game out in the 9th, finalizing the second largest comeback in club history. The last comeback of a similar margin came in 1989 when the Jays overcame a 10-run deficit to defeat the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings, 13-11.
Unfortunately, the Jays were unable to use the win to surmount a winning streak going into the all-star break, however, June 20th will fondly be remembered as the time the Jays conquered the great, ever-elusive, ‘Cuban Missile’.