Down 6 runs? Jays grand slam caps off greatest 9th-inning comeback in team history
Steve Pearce hits his 2nd bases loaded walk off in 4 days
With his second walk-off grand slam in less than a week, Steve Pearce lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a miraculous 11-10 comeback win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Angels held a 10-4 lead entering the final frame and many of the 46,852 in the sold-out Rogers Centre crowd had already left the stadium. But Pearce launched a fastball from Angels closer Bud Norris into left field to complete the biggest ninth-inning comeback in Blue Jays' history.
Afterwards, he was at a loss to explain his recent flair for the dramatic.
"Feels great. Really hasn't sunk in yet," said Pearce, who was asked if the grand slam from Thursday's win over Oakland gave him any extra confidence.
"You never see those coming with that big a deficit," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "Pearce with a granny to win it — that's really rare in this game."
Pearce became just the third player in MLB history with two walk-off grand slams in one season.
Toronto's rally comes a day after the Angels stunned the Jays (49-56) with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback of their own. Matt Dermody got the win after pitching three innings of relief without giving up an earned run.
Albert Pujols homered twice for the Angels (51-55), who seemed to be in cruise control until Toronto's wild ninth inning.
The rally started when Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer and infielder Rob Refsnyder doubled to chase Angels reliever Brooks Pounders. With Norris taking over on the mound, Ezequiel Carrera and Russell Martin singled to cut the lead to 10-7 and, after Justin Smoak grounded out, Kendrys Morales walked to set the table for Pearce's heroics.
"He missed pretty bad on the first two pitches so I was really able to lock in on the next pitch," Pearce said.
Cesar Valdez started for the Blue Jays, and after the journeyman right-hander picked up his first win in over seven years with a solid start against Oakland Tuesday, it was immediately clear he wasn't going to be as sharp Sunday.
'It's a crazy day'
With Mike Trout on base in the first inning, Pujols sent the eighth pitch of the game into the left-field seats to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Though Carrera responded with a lead-off homer in the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Jays and Valdez unravelled in a messy third. Infielder Kaleb Cowart led off with a triple, former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar followed with a double, Trout walked and Pujols singled to give the Angels a 4-1 lead.
Before the inning was over, Andrelton Simmons doubled in two runs to chase Valdez before Ben Revere added an RBI single to put the Angels up 7-1.
Toronto again answered quickly. In the bottom of the third, singles from Carrera, Martin and Smoak and a sacrifice fly from Morales cut the lead to 7-3. Pearce then clubbed a double to centre — missing a home run by a few feet — before a Miguel Montero groundout made it 7-4.
Still, the Angels kept coming, adding runs in the fifth — when Revere reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, took third on a Montero throwing error, and finally sprinted home on a shallow sacrifice fly — and the sixth, when Pujols hit his 16th homer. Luis Valbuena would add a sacrifice fly in the ninth to give Los Angeles what should have been an insurmountable 10-4 lead.
With the summer they've had, the Blue Jays were thankful the wild game leaned their way.
"It's a crazy day," Gibbons said. "You don't see that coming."
Ligament damage for Tulowitzki
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has ligament damage on his right ankle, the team said Sunday.
The Blue Jays said an MRI on Tulowitzki's sprained ankle revealed the damage. He will be further evaluated by a foot/ankle specialist.
Tulowitzki was injured during Friday night's home game against the Los Angeles Angels. He left the game in the third inning after spraining his ankle while trying to run out a ground ball at first base.
The 32-year-old Tulowitzki was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday.
Tulowitzki is batting .249 with seven homers and 26 runs batted in through 66 games this season. He also spent time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury earlier this season.