TORONTO – It was supposed to be a small toast, an acknowledgement that they had secured a wild-card berth.
Instead, the Toronto Blue Jays washed away 22 years of frustration in a deluge of champagne and beer in a raucous celebration.
“(Edwin Encarnacion) wanted to go for it, so we did,” pitcher R.A. Dickey said, music blaring in the background and cigar smoke wafting around him in a joyous clubhouse.
Jose Bautista hit two home runs, David Price won for the ninth time in 11 starts with Toronto and the playoff-bound Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-8 on Saturday.
“I don’t know where they were hiding the champagne but somebody went and got it and it got a little crazy,” said Bautista, wearing goggles and an alcohol-soaked T-shirt that read “Take October.”
The AL East-leading Blue Jays hope there will be more partying ahead.
“We expect to have another one of these when we win the division,” Bautista said. “That’s our goal.”
The Blue Jays actually punched their ticket to the postseason on Friday after beating the Rays and seeing Minnesota fall 6-4 at Detroit. Toronto wrapped up at least a wild card based on their main competitors’ overlapping schedules. They’re heading to the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
“The fact that we know we’re going to be in the postseason, it means a lot,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “We want to win the division. Beyond that, it’s just a great moment. It’s great to see these guys excited.”
On Saturday, an anticipated pitcher’s duel between Rays right-hander Chris Archer and Price, his former teammate and mentor, turned into a sloppy slugfest. Toronto’s three errors matched a season high.
“When you look at their body of work over the course of the year, they don’t have many games like this,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t think anybody would have thought there were going to be 18 runs scored in a game that featured Archer and Price.”
Bautista hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run drive in a five-run first inning.
Bautista made it 10-5 with a solo shot off Kirby Yates in the eighth. It was the fifth multihomer game of the season for Bautista, whose homers were his 38th and 39th.
Price (18-5) allowed five runs — four earned — in five innings. It was the most runs the left-hander had allowed since giving up five in a July 28 loss to the Rays, his final start with Detroit before being traded to Toronto.
“My last two starts against these guys haven’t gone the way I wanted them to,” Price said. “If I’m going to give up five, I want it to be on a day where we score 10, so that was good.”
Astros 9, Rangers 7
In Houston, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve hit two homers apiece as the Astros connected a season-high six times in a win over the Rangers, cutting Texas’ lead in the AL West to 3½ games.
Angels 3, Mariners 2
In Anaheim, David Freese led off the ninth inning with a walk-off homer to center.
Twins 6, Tigers 2
In Detroit, Eduardo Escobar homered and drove in three runs as Minnesota kept pace in the AL wild-card race.
Yankees 2, White Sox 1
In New York, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez hit consecutive run-scoring doubles off John Danks in the sixth inning.
Indians 9, Royals 5
In Kansas City, Carlos Santana drove in three runs, Yan Gomes homered and Cleveland beat the Royals to move above .500 for the first time since April 9.
Red Sox 8, Orioles 0
In Boston, first-time starter Craig Breslow and six relievers combined on a five-hitter.
Giants 14, Athletics 10
In Oakland, rookie Jarrett Parker became the first San Francisco player with at least three homers and seven RBIs in a game since Willie Mays in 1961, overshadowing the shaky starts in the feel-good matchup of Tim Hudson and Barry Zito.
Article Source : The Japan Times » Sports category » Baseball
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