Toronto Blue Jays’ spectacular push to playoff fails

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

Posted on Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 6:41 p.m. EDT

Last updated Sunday October 3, 2021 8:36 PM EDT

TORONTO – In minutes, the final day of the Blue Jays’ dramatic 91-game winning season went from cloud nine to collapse.

The Blue Jays returned to their clubhouse in a jubilant mood after putting the finishing touches on a 12-4 win to sweep the lowly Baltimore Orioles in the regular-season three-game ending streak on Sunday.

But as they glanced at the various TV sets, they saw the bad news unfold. The Boston Red Sox had just gone up 7-5 in Washington against the Nationals.

“You never want your fate to be in someone else’s hands,” said Blue Jays outfielder George Springer, who hit two home runs including a grand slam in the third inning to put his team ahead of 9. -1. “But that’s the way it was, is to hope for the best, but it didn’t happen.”

The Blue Jays (91-71) needed a win and loss to the Red Sox or New York Yankees to qualify for an American League tiebreaker on Monday.

The Yankees (92-70) won 1-0 in the ninth of their home game against the Tampa Bay Rays, winners of the AL East Division. The Red Sox (92-70) were down 5-1 after five innings in their match, but came back strong to win on Rafael Devers’ two-run homeroom in the final set.

Hundreds of Rogers Center’s 29,942 players stayed to watch the final round of the Red Sox game on the giant scoreboard in the middle of the field.

There was a chance of a four-way tie, but the Seattle Mariners (90-72) lost their home season final 7-3 to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Yankees will face the Red Sox in the AL wildcard game at Fenway Park on Tuesday. The Blue Jays’ chances were reduced when they lost two of three home games to the Yankees to start the final week of the season.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo felt playing their home games in Dunedin, Florida and Buffalo in the first four months was the difference. Toronto has gone 25-11 at home since returning to the Rogers Center in late July and 22-9 overall in September and October to lead the AL during that streak.

Montoyo believes the playoff push will only help his young team improve.

“They won a lot from these games,” said Montoyo. “These were games to be won.”

Montoyo held an end-of-season reunion with his players after the squad photo was taken, hours before the final series started on Friday. He told the group how proud he was of their season.

“We didn’t give up as a team and we didn’t give up against each other,” said Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a two-run shot in the second inning for his 48th long ball at the top of the AL. The explosion set a single-season homerun record for a player 22 or under, surpassing the previous record of 47 set by Eddie Mathews in 1953.

“It’s sad, but we just have to move on,” Guerrero said after the day was over.

“I think that will make us a stronger team, a better team next year.”

Guerrero won the AL batting title with an average of .311 and the league circuit crown. He fished second on the team with 111 RBIs, five behind Teoscar Hernandez, who knocked out Guerrero and Bichette in the fourth inning.

Marcus Semien hit the Blue Jays’ fourth and final home run in the final, giving him 45 points this season. Guerrero and Semien became the sixth pair of teammates in Major League baseball history to each hit 45 or more home runs in a season, and the first since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did so with the Red Sox in 2005.

Semien and starter Robbie Ray are two Toronto players eligible for free play in the offseason.

Semien, 31, is open to a new signing with the Blue Jays.

“We had the best offense in the major leagues and, in my mind, the best starting pitcher of the game. Who doesn’t want to be part of it?

“There are little pieces to add to take it to the next level. I am one of them. I think our enclosure is another. We also have young people, young people who are improving.

“We’ll see what happens, but I had a great time here. “

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 3, 2021.

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