Blue Jays, Rangers play emotionally charged 7th inning
Bautista 3-run homer caps off crazy sequence of events
When the dust settled after a 53-minute seventh inning on Wednesday, the Toronto Blue Jays led the Texas Rangers 6-3, with most of the damage being done by Jose Bautista's three-run shot to left-centre field.
Coupled with a series of crazy events prior to the go-ahead hit, it was an inning that few watching will soon forget.
Rougned Odor advanced home from third base to put the Rangers in front 3-2 in the top of the frame due to MLB rule 6.03, which is rarely applied.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was charged with an error for a throw back to the mound that hit the bat of Shin-Soo Choo and bounced down the third-base line.
It was initially ruled a dead ball, however the umpires convened and decided that the run was allowed to score as Choo was in the batter's box and showed no intent to get in the way.
The run stood even after the umpires chose to have the call reviewed by the replay centre, prompting the Blue Jays to play the remainder of the game under protest.
Some spectators at the Rogers Centre threw debris on the field and that led to an 18-minute delay.
Aaron Sanchez then struck out Choo to settle things down.
In the bottom half of the inning, Martin reached base on an error and following two more Texas errors, the Blue Jays were threatening with the bases loaded.
Josh Donaldson was able to erase some of the sting of the Rangers' third run with an RBI blooper to shallow right field that tied the game at 3-3.
Then, the play of the game. The crowd erupted in a frenzy when Bautista delivered a three-run homer. His teammates poured out of the dugout and both benches cleared. The Rangers may have taken exception to a triumphal bat-flip by Bautista.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BatFlip?src=hash">#BatFlip</a> forever on loop. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OwnOctober?src=hash">#OwnOctober</a> <a href="https://t.co/bGMRSvGVwL">https://t.co/bGMRSvGVwL</a>—@MLB
As if that wasn't enough, the benches cleared again after the Jays' Troy Tulowitzki was retired to end the inning. Rangers reliever Sam Dyson approached the Blue Jays shortstop and patted him on his back to bring both teams out of the dugouts again.
The Blue Jays held on to their 6-3 lead and advanced to the American League Championship series where they will face the Kansas City Royals who defeated the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the other division series later Wednesday night.