Game Recap: Blue Jays pull off dramatic 4-3 come from behind victory over the Tigers
By Edward Eng
The Toronto Blue Jays of 2023 have certainly been an entertaining group, game in and game out. You never know what will happen until the game ends. Well, that narrative continued into the second game of the home opener series against the Detroit Tigers.
Jays’ starter Kevin Gausman had his splitter going for him all night, striking out 10 of 11 batters using his nasty pitch, and going eight strong innings. Unfortunately, he was hit hard on two of his fastballs, and they both left for home runs, a solo shot by Nick Maton, and a two-run dinger by Kerry Carpenter later in the game that put the Tigers up 3-1.
In the previous game, the Jays had used the long ball to help them come back from a 3-0 deficit, with five home runs to help cap a 9-3 series opener victory. For this game, the key for the Jays’ was their success with situational hitting instead.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Whit Merrifield was able to come through with a key two-out single to score Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to help tie the game at one. But the run didn’t come without controversy as Guerrero was actually thrown out at the plate by a mile, but Tigers’ third basemen Ryan Kreidler was charged with obstruction on Guerrero, which enabled the run to count.
From there, the Jays weren’t able to generate much offence as the Tigers set down 12 of the next 14 batters, with the only threat coming in the bottom of the 6th, but was quickly snuffed out when Matt Chapman was thrown out at third base.
But no lead is insurmountable with this team, right? Cue the comeback in the bottom of the 9th. With Tigers’ closer Trey Wingenter struggling, he put the first three runners on base, so the Jays had the bases loaded with nobody out. Time and time again in the past, how many times would we see this and the Jays would come out of it with just one run or none at all? Well, this time, key situational hitting and running comes through as both Whit Merrifield and Alejandro Kirk come through with sacrifice flies to tie the game at three.
With Guerrero making a key diving grab in the top of the 10th inning on a Bo Bichette throw to keep the game tied, the Jays executed the bottom half of the inning to perfection. Kevin Kiermaier started it off by getting Danny Jansen over to third with a sacrifice bunt, and then George Springer does what he does best and comes through with the game-winning single to send the Jays’ fans into a frenzy and everyone going home happy.
This game truly showed that the Jays’ offense of 2023 is multi-faceted. They can utilize the long ball like how they did in the first game to power their way to victory. But they can now also use small ball and situational hitting to help them win games, unlike those teams from the past. Looks like these Jays are definitely built differently, and if they can ride this to success, it will come a long way into bringing this team into prime contention for the playoffs and beyond for many years.