10. Grichuk walks off the Orioles
It’s late August 2020 at Sahlen Field in Buffalo and the Toronto Blue Jays are in a pennant race. Wow. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Locked in yet another one-run game, the Blue Jays and Orioles battled to a 3-3 tie through nine innings.
With the aforementioned ghost runner rule implemented by Manfred, the Orioles placed the speedy Rio Ruiz at second to start the top of the tenth.
The art of the sacrifice bunt has taken a hiatus over the past decade or so, but one thing purists can take solace in is that the ghost runner has made the cutesiest play in baseball relevant again. Cedric Mullins dropped down a beauty in front of pitcher Rafael Dolis, and moved Ruiz to third.
Now, only needing a knock to score, the Orioles pleased those purists once more; they put the ball in play.
Hanser Alberto got jammed, but was able to find a spot of grass not occupied by a man in blue to place the go-ahead single. Dolis was able to retire the next two batters, but the Jays now needed to score to keep the game alive.
With Reese McGuire starting the inning on second, the Blue Jays knew they had to advance the catcher to third to have any hope of scoring a run on a single. On the first pitch of the inning, Joe Panik attempted a bunt, only to see it pop up and land right back in the glove of the pitcher from where it originated.
With the eagle-eyed Cavan Biggio striding in next, the Blue Jay cause looked to be in good hands. Until those hands lined out to centre.
Now down to their final out, and McGuire still standing at second, Randal Grichuk assumed his position in the batters’ box. After taking Cole Sulser‘s fastball for a ball, Grichuk stayed back on the slider and lifted it into the Buffalo night. As it cleared the wall, shouts of joy permeated through the ballpark, a stark reminder of the crazy times that we’re in.
What were some of your top moments from the 2020 Blue Jays season? Any last thoughts on how the team performed? Let us know in the comments below.