Top Ten Moments in Toronto Blue Jays History - Number 10
Mark Everett Kelly
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, March 16, 2020
While we await the start of the 2020 MLB season (whenever it occurs), I thought a look back at some historical memories to carry sports fans through would be therapeutic.
For the next ten days, I will uncover my perspective on the ten most memorable moments in Blue Jays history.
Number 10. Juan Beniquez's GW three-run double stuns the Tigers.
September 26, 1987, at Exhibition Stadium
Blue Jays 10 F
Trailing 9-7 in the bottom of the ninth, the Jays once again rallied to shock the Detroit Tigers.
The previous night it was Lloyd Moseby and Manny Lee who provided the heroics. Trailing 2-0 heading to the ninth inning, Lee's double tied the game. After consecutive intentional walks to load the bases, Lou Whitaker's throw home on Moseby's grounder, avoided catcher Mike Heath, chasing home Lee with the winning run.
The next night it was Juan Beniquez who stunned the Tigers. Following a leadoff double by Jesse Barfield and a single by Willie Upshaw, Tigers closer Mike Henneman failed to record an out when Sparky Anderson replaced him with Dickie Noles after hitting Rick Leach with a pitch.
The second-largest crowd in team history (46,429) watched anxiously as Beniquez, acquired from the Royals on July 14, lined a 3-2 pitch from Noles over Tigers' shortstop Alan Trammell.
Beniquez, pinch-hitting for the previous night's miracle-maker Lee, never looked up until he reached second base. By that time, Barfield, Upshaw, and pinch-runner Lou Thornton all touched home plate.
DESPITE HEROICS, THERE WAS NO HAPPY ENDING
Sadly for the Blue Jays, those consecutive miraculous victories were not enough to discourage the Tigers, who once again failed to protect a lead the next day when Barfield's two-out single evened the score at one in the bottom of the 11th. However, the boys from Motown kept their composure and held off a Jays rally in the 13th when Noles retired Barfield to salvage the final game of the four-game series.
Despite winning 96 games (tied for the second-most in franchise history), Toronto would watch a three-and-a-half game lead evaporate over the final week, losing the last seven games of the season.
Following a nauseating 3-2 loss on October 3, which saw the winning run score after Lee imitated Whitaker's misplay the previous weekend, the Jays fell one game back with one game remaining. Needing a win to force a one-game playoff, Jimmy Key took the mound against Frank Tanana. Despite allowing just three hits over his eight innings, it was not enough. Larry Herndon's second-inning HR provided the only run in a 1-0 loss as the Tigers clinched the AL East behind Tanana's complete-game six-hitter.