Sep 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) pitches during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Joy. Euphoria. Exhilaration.
There simply aren’t enough words to describe the emotions of seeing the Jays running out of the third base dugout in Camden Yards to celebrate winning the 2015 American League East divison. For someone who isn’t old enough to remember the Championship runs of ’92 and ’93, but who has certainly suffered for the past decade that was riddled with inconsistency and failure, the victory this afternoon certainly makes all those disappointing walks down the Rogers Centre tunnel from the 500 level onto Bremner Boulevard worth it.
Despite the odd timing of such a monumental game for the Jays, the last 9 innings were a great reflection of the team’s season to date and especially the post All-Star break version: big offensive outburst, coupled with a strong starting pitching performance. The Blue Jays have evolved into an elite team in the MLB and put an exclamation mark on their wildly successful season today.
- Russell Martin got things going in the second, ripping a double down the third base line that plated Edwin Encarnacion. The new-and-improved Ryan Goins followed with a sharp single up the middle to make the score 2-0. Goins ended up going 5-5 with a walk.
- Ben Revere kept things moving with an RBI single in the 4th, with Jose Bautista (in trademark style) drawing a bases-loaded walk to make the score 4-0.
- The Orioles kicked the ball around with 2 outs in the fifth on a Darwin Barney dribbler to the mound, with an overthrow resulting in both Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins scoring, with Barney following behind them. This made it 7-0. Josh Donaldson added to the total with a wind-assisted RBI double off the right field wall.
- In the 7th, Edwin Encarnacion flexed his muscles and deposited a Steve Johnson pitch into the left field seats, making it 10-0.
- In the top of the 9th Jose Bautista added to the total with a solo home run to left field. As if he hadn’t tormented the Orioles enough this year. Justin Smoak promptly followed with a two-run blast opposite field shot. That made it 13-1.
- The Jays weren’t done there, adding 2 more runs on Pillar and Barney singles. 15-1 at that point.
- Marcus Stroman certainly looked very sharp going 8.0 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8. The fastball was down in the zone on the corners with plenty of movement and his off-speed arsenal kept the Baltimore hitters off balance all afternoon. His only blemish was a Steve Pearce solo home run, but by then the game was well out of reach for the Orioles.
What a way to clinch the division. It certainly was even sweeter winning with Adam Jones,and Buck Showalter looking on from the dugout. The Jays haven’t finished the job yet – in fact they play again in 30 minutes – and the playoffs will continue to test the team. Hoping that there are plenty more celebratory recaps to come in the next few weeks!