August 27: Mistake by the Lake
If there is a game which can rival the Seattle game in a contest of ‘most times John Schneider can press the wrong button in a row,’ this is definitely it.
First, tied at six with Cleveland in the bottom of the ninth, Schneider called upon Cavan Biggio to bunt Danny Jansen over to third after he’d led off the inning with a double. Small ball is perhaps not the Jays’ forte, and Cavan bunted the ball straight to the pitcher, who threw out Jansen at third.
Up stepped Santiago Espinal, who worked the count to 3-0. It appeared that Brandon Belt, standing on the on-deck circle, might get a crack with the winning run in scoring position. And yet, despite the fact that Espinal was hitting .213 at the time with a .286 OBP and a mind-bogglingly low .290 slugging, Schneider gave him the green light on 3-0, and he promptly hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Guardians failed to score in the top of the tenth, meaning the Jays only needed to score the ghost runner from second in their half of the inning to win the game. With two outs, up stepped the hottest hitter on the team – Davis Schneider – with a chance to win it.
At the time, “Babe” was in the midst of going full supernova, homering in three straight games and batting .500 (7/14) with three homers, three doubles, and six RBI over his previous four starts.
Except, Davis Schneider didn’t step to the plate with the game on the line, because he’d been pulled for a pinch runner in the eighth – Kevin Kiermaier, who scored on a Varsho single which would have scored just about any runner on the team.
Kiermaier meekly grounded out to first, sending the game to the eleventh, where the Guardians would put up four, eventually winning 10-7.