Jays’ rally goes for nought
TORONTO—In a month that continues to go from bad to worse, the Toronto Blue Jays came agonizingly close to a stirring comeback win last night before literally falling short.
Another foot or so and Edwin Encarnacion’s ninth-inning blast to left-centre would have been a game-winning home run instead of a double off the wall to tie the game at 3-3.
Shortstop Brock Holt singled off Aaron Sanchez (2-1) with one out, then stole second—surviving an instant replay review—and third before Cespedes sent the ball past a diving Munenori Kawasaki with two outs for the winning run.
“We made a run at it. We needed another foot or two on Eddie’s ball,” said Jays’ manager John Gibbons.
“And then we couldn’t shut them down [in] that extra inning,” he added.
“So disappointing, definitely disappointing.”
Toronto, which is 6-15 this month, now has lost nine of its last 12 games and 11 of its last 16.
It failed to score more than three runs for the 13th time this month.
The opposition scored first for the fifth-straight game—dropping Toronto’s record to 20-39 on the season when it falls behind out of the gate.
It also marked the fifth time in the last six home games that the Jays had gone to extra innings.
Their record is 3-2 in such games over that stretch.
The Jays (66-65) had hoped to put an end to their August swoon given their success this season against Boston.
Toronto had won six-straight against the Red Sox and 10 of the 13 meetings between the two prior to last night.
Left-hander Craig Breslow pitched the 10th for his first save—despite putting the tying run on via a walk.
Boston (57-74) was in control going into the ninth, with starter Clay Buchholz holding the Jays to just two hits over eight innings and homers by Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Buchholz struck out four and walked two in a near flawless outing that kept the dormant Jays’ offence in check until the ninth, when he loaded the bases on back-to-back Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera singles and a Jose Bautista walk with one out.
Closer Koji Uehara was unable to clean up the mess, allowing one run on an Adam Lind force-out and then two more on the Encarnacion double.
Uehara (6-4) blew the save but still got the win.
Boston manager John Farrell praised Cespedes’ heroics.
“‘Cespy’ has been so good since coming over to us [from Oakland], getting RBIs in key moments, late-inning situations,” he noted.
“Once again today with a game-winner.
“Whether it’s been with a base hit or a long ball, he’s been big for us late in games,” Farrell added.
Buchholz had outduelled J.A. Happ, who struck out eight and gave up five hits in six solid innings before a crowd of 26,041 with the roof open at Rogers Centre.
But the Jays’ left-hander fell victim to the long ball in the fifth inning.
“Happ was really good,” said Gibbons. “Just those two swings got him.”
Sanchez also paid the price for a mistake, leaving a breaking ball in the strike zone for Cespedes.
Elsewhere in the AL, Baltimore pounded Tampa Bay 9-1, New York dumped Kansas City 8-1, Oakland beat Houston 8-2, and Texas blanked Seattle 2-0.