Top Ten Moments in Toronto Blue Jays History - Number 5

Mark Everett Kelly
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, March 21, 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 5: Bautista Bat Flip Sends Rangers Home

Date: October 15, 2015 - Rogers Centre

Opponent: Texas Rangers

Final Score: Blue Jays 6 Rangers 3


After losing the first two games of the ALDS at home, the Jays return to the postseason for the first time since 1993, did not look promising.


However, Toronto returned the favor in Texas, setting up a Game 5 at Rogers Centre. Marcus Stroman and Cole Hamels each were making their second start of the series after facing off in Game 1.


The Rangers took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first (Prince Fielder ground out scoring Delino Deshields Jr.) and third innings (Shin Soo-Choo solo HR). Toronto answered back with Jose Bautista driving in Ben Revere with a two-out single in the bottom of the third.


Stroman and Hamels settled down, as the game remained 2-1 until Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with a one-out solo HR in the bottom of the sixth. 


In the top of the seventh, this game and series changed. Aaron Sanchez faced Choo with two outs and Rougned Odor on third base. After Choo watched ball two even the count, Russell Martin's return throw to Sanchez hit Choo's bat. Odor, seeing the ball carom toward third base, came racing home with the go-ahead run. 


Homeplate umpire Dale Scott signaled the ball was dead, and Odor to return to third. However, Rangers manager Jeff Bannister came out to argue Scott's decision, saying it was a live ball. Scott gathered the umpires for a discussion, then ruled that Odor advanced due to the ball hitting Choo's bat via incidental contact (Rule 6.03). Choo remained in the batter's box when Martin returned his throw, allowing Odor to advance at his own risk. 


Blue Jays fans erupted, throwing bottles and items on the field. The delay it caused was over 18 minutes before Sanchez struck out Choo two pitches later.


In the bottom of the seventh, the Jays loaded the bases when Martin, Kevin Pillar & Ryan Goins reached base on three consecutive errors.  Revere then grounded into a force out at home. Bannister relieved Hamels with Sam Dyson, who induced Josh Donaldson to hit a weak pop which eluded the glove of Odor, allowing pinch-runner Dalton Pompey to score, but forcing Goins at second. 


Bautista then sent Rogers Centre into delirium, completing the fans 180-degree shift from enraged, when he deposited Dyson's 1-1 pitch into the second deck in left field. Excited over his connection with the pitch, Bautista stood in admiration, then flipped his bat in celebration.


Frustrated by the Rangers' mistakes that inning (including his pitch), Dyson and Encarnacion got into words, causing both benches to empty.


In the top of the eighth, a Fielder single and one-out walk to Mitch Moreland saw Sanchez replaced with Roberto Osuna. Osuna retired the final five batters, sending the Jays to the ALCS for the first time since 1993.