With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin came through in the clutch for his team, hitting a long RBI single off the wall to send the Blue Jays to their second consecutive walk off win over the Texas Rangers 4-3.
Following last nights heroics by Justin Smoak, the Blue Jays were looking for another hero after Colby Lewis had managed to stifle the offence for the first five innings of the game.
And on this night, they got two heroes. With a man on first base, and two outs in the 6th inning, Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate mired in a bad personal stretch. Coming into the at-bat 1 for his last 22, and 0 for 11 in his career against Lewis, Eddie ripped a ball over the left field wall to score two and tie the game at three a piece.
But unlike last night, it would take more than one batter to finish this one off. Enter Martin with the sacks full, needing only a deep fly ball to win the game, Russell ripped the ball over the Rangers right fielder (who was playing shallow due to the fact anything deep would win the game, so having him back there wouldn’t have changed a thing) and against the right field wall for one of the longest singles you will ever see.
Until Eddies heroics it seemed like the Blue Jays offence would be stifled for another night. After “young gun” starter Aaron Sanchez allowed two first inning runs, the Blue Jays responded with a leadoff double by Michael Saunders and one out later a Jose Bautista RBI single put the Jays on the board.
But this would be all they would get for the next 4 and 2/3 innings, as Colby Lewis (he off the almost 7.00 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays) held the Jays to just a Justin Smoak single from the end of the first till Eddies jack.
On the pitching side of things for the Jays, after allowing 3 runs in the first 2 innings, Sanchez settled down to go seven solid innings (allowing just those three runs), at one point even setting down 9 straight batters until Nomar Mazara walked with one out in the fifth inning.
The win was especially sweet for the two heroes, Martin and Encarnacion, as they both came into the game nowhere near their career norms on offence. Martin hasn’t hit a homer this year, and was still looking for that big clutch play to help his team to a win. Scratch that one off the list. And Encarnacion came into the game with just 3 home runs on the year (which would put him on pace for 17 home runs over a 162 game season, well below the levels the Eddie we have come to love has usually put up), and while its just one home run, we all know how Eddie can heat up (the rest of the league has been warned!!!).
The Blue Jays got another good night from their bullpen as Drew Storen and Roberto Osuna combined for 2 innings of one hit ball to set up the chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.
With two straight walk off wins, their hitters starting to come up clutch and their bullpen finally settling into a groove, this Blue Jays team may just be the team we thought they would be this year.
Turning point of the year, anyone?