Boy, we needed that.
I was faced with the world’s most wonderful scoring conundrum in the first inning when the Blue Jays sent eleven batters to the plate against floundering Barry Zito, scoring six runs—Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista had two at-bats each in the frame, which had me frantically scrambling to figure out what to do. No one at the ballpark could quite believe what was happening. Six! Runs! In the first! (Yelling!)
In the end I used the boxes in the second inning—sure feels nice to be on the happy side of a card like this for once.
When Zito finally got Bautista to line out to Sandoval for the third out of the inning, the Rogers Centre was on their feet applauding the team’s ridiculous first (or perhaps standing for Zito?), something I don’t think I’ve ever seen. In the end, the Blue Jays scored ten runs for a second game in a row but without hitting a single home run, which is easily the weirdest part of this whole wild night. Ten runs on eighteen hits, all in the ballpark!
Maybe things are getting better.
Dickey: 6.0 IP 6H 2ER 2BB 10K!
Zito: 5.2 IP 12H 8R/5ER 2BB 2K
Dickey, might I add, got Buster Posey to strike out swinging twice.
And first star Melky Cabrera went 4 for 5 with a double, scoring twice and reaching base the fifth time on an error by Pablo Sandoval. Can he get a ring every day?
Guys, I forgot what winning decisively was like and the Blue Jays have done it twice in a row against teams doing much better than they are. This is actually fun. I haven’t been so relaxed at a Blue Jays game in ages.
Tomorrow, Ramon Ortiz vs Ryan Vogelsong … a duel for the ages.
Entering Game 4, only one postseason game in the previous 15 days had experienced a lead change. And that was a paltry 1-0 early-inning lead. After the final inning of the Nats-Cards division series, nothing mind-searing has happened. Of fine games, there were plenty. But the kind of screaming hair-pulling madness that consumes many postseasons was absent. It wasn’t until this final game that we saw a game sway to and fro — the Giants leading 1-0, trailing 2-1, leading, 3-2, then being tied at 3 before finally winning. In doing so, they ended one of the most remarkable, and perhaps least appreciated, October title runs in baseball history. After escaping elimination six times, they swept the sweepers.
Case, and season closed.
Virtually every sports fan has a story of a Game 7 that broke their hearts.
At least, those sports fans who enjoy games incorporating a best-of-seven round somewhere — baseball, hockey, basketball … There’s Game 5 do-or-die contests in baseball too, in the Division Series, but “Game 5” doesn’t quite come with the same gravitas. Game 7 is the ultimate. Six games played, three up and three down, and two undoubtedly tired teams must then fight one last time, winner take all. They are sports all wrapped up in one defining game: the highest highs, the lowest lows, the nail-biting and teeth-gnashing and incoherent joyful shouting and some of the most heart-racing seconds you will ever experience.
I’ve got plenty of Game 7 stories, having grown up a hockey fan. It’s where the awe and terror of those words was instilled in me, bound into my instincts. Say “Game 7” to those of us in the know and our hearts begin to pound and our hands start to sweat. They’re the scariest words in sports. Those nights are the best day of someone’s sporting life, and the worst day of someone else’s.
Last season was my first MLB playoffs, and we all know well what Game 7 broke many hearts (and buoyed up many others) then. If we’re going to be perfectly accurate, though, it was Game 6 that did the breaking; the next was just the cherry on top. It ensured that I’ll never be able to confidently say “Down to their last strike” about the Cardinals again—a valuable lesson that no game is ever certain, no lead protected, until the game is over. The Rangers had so many chances, were so close every time, and could never quite make it.
It’s the bottom of the ninth at Great American Ball Park. With one out, Joey Votto is at second base, Ryan Ludwick at first. The score is 6-4 in favour of San Francisco, Zack Cozart having crossed the plate moments before to stoke the fires of Cincinnati’s last hopes.
Jay Bruce, representing the winning run, steps up to the plate.
This game shouldn’t be happening, really. The Giants were humbled in Games 1 and 2 at home, almost getting no-hit in the second, their two best pitching hopes barely making it through the fifth each time. Somehow they staved off elimination two nights in a row, erasing the Reds’ commanding lead and forcing a do-or-die game. And here they are—doing, they hope.
The tying run has come to the plate in the sixth inning, and again in the seventh, and the eighth, and the ninth. If they do it, it will not be without a battle.
Romo delivers. Fastball, fouled off—strike one.
Earlier last night I tweeted about how I really wanted to go to San Francisco to watch a game ON A BOAT, because you can do that — out in McCovey Cove during games, there are always people on boats waiting for home run balls.
Then my sister, who you should follow on Twitter immediately, decided to write parody lyrics despite a minimal knowledge of baseball. I got a bunch of hilarious questions over the next half hour or so:
And then she came up with this, which is hilarious and amazing and the best. My sister, ladies and gentlemen.
Warning: Language not suitable for children. Obviously.
(Full text after the jump.)
Get your ballcaps ready it’s about to go down!
Everybody in the place hit the fuckin’ field
but stay on your motherfuckin’ toes!