This story, by Shi Davidi, first appeared on Sportsnet. Read the full story here.
BOSTON – They made it, just barely, but they’re in, and the month of struggles that nearly pushed the Toronto Blue Jays out of the post-season ended in a wild-card berth, not collapse, and an October of possibilities looms.
To get there, they made it hard, because everything this season for them is hard, and technically, they clinched when the Detroit Tigers fell 1-0 to the Atlanta Braves just as Joe Biagini was on the mound in the eighth inning, the tying run at second, trying to work out of yet another late-inning jam.
He did, preserving the lead provided by the RBI single Troy Tulowitzki pushed into centre field in the top half of the eighth, and Roberto Osuna worked around a walk and a single in the ninth inning for his 36th save.
“Bottom line, since I came here I talked about winning,” Tulowitzki said. “In two years that’s two playoff appearances, so I’m happy about that.”
A date at home against the Baltimore Orioles in Tuesday’s win-or-go-home wild-card game awaits, which is what a week ago everyone expected to happen.
Don’t try to figure out baseball, just enjoy the ride.
Underlining that point is that a dazzling Aaron Sanchez – bound for the bullpen Aug. 1 before that plan was reversed three days later – was untouchable for 6.2 innings but lost a no-hit bid on a disputed Hanley Ramirez solo shot with two out in the seventh inning. Sanchez immediately pointed foul, third-base umpire Quinn Wolcott signalled fair and replay wasn’t definitive either way.
Either way, Sanchez put together a strong final start.
“I’ve got a good look at him all year,” Tulowitzki said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. He’s nasty. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
As for Sanchez, he wasn’t ready for the season to end Sunday.
“I knew what it meant,” he said. “I knew what this feeling was last year and I wasn’t ready to go home. These guys, myself, we’ve worked too hard for it to come to an end tonight.”
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Toronto Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles in the American League wild-card game Tuesday. Watch the game live on Sportsnet with coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET. Read the full story here.