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Jays Listed – Top 10 Blue Jays post season games

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It’s been a long time since we’ve seen playoff baseball in Toronto. Too long. The Blue Jays haven’t made the postseason since winning their second straight World Series title in 1993. That’s a 19-year drought for the mathematically challenged. That also means anyone under 20 has never had the opportunity to see the Blue Jays in the playoffs.

In franchise history the Blue Jays have made the postseason five times. All five were AL East titles because back then there was no Wild Card. In total Toronto has played 41 playoffs games, posting a record of 41-40. I’m lucky enough, or more appropriately, old enough, to have seen both World Series championship seasons as well as a few playoff failures in previous years.

After going through old box scores and game summaries and awakening some memories I’ve picked out 10 Toronto playoff games as the best. Actually I included a couple honorable mentions, so the list really includes 12 games. Since all 12 are also Blue Jays wins you could really call in a Top 12 list of Blue Jays postseason wins. Who wants to remember a playoff loss anyway?

This is another pretty subjective list, so if you think a different game should be include or a game in the list deserves a higher or even lower ranking let it be known in the comments section. Here we go, starting with a couple honorable mentions.

Honorable mentions:

I) 1992 ALCS Game 6 – October 14, 1992

The Blue Jays eliminated the Oakland Athletics in Game 6 of the 1992 ALCS behind a strong outing from Juan Guzman and some heavy hitting.

Let’s talk about Guzman first. The fiery hurler recorded his second win of the series after mowing down Oakland through seven strong innings. He allowed only one run on five hits with eight strikeouts in the victory.

The Toronto offense provided more than enough runs for Guzman on the day. The Jays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from Joe Carter. They tacked on four more runs in the fourth inning after an RBI-double from John Olerud and a three-run blast off the bat of Candy Maldonado.

Pat Borders made it 7-0 with a sac fly that scored Olerud in the fifth, while Oakland finally got on the board with a single run in the sixth. They trimmed the lead a little more with another run in the eighth, but the Jays got that back and more in the next frame with two in the eighth. Tom Henke shut the door in the ninth and the Blue Jays won 9-2 to advanced to their first World Series.

 

II) 1993 ALCS Game 2 – October 6, 1993

What stands out most for many Blue Jays fans about Game 2 of the 1993 ALCS is a gutsy pitching performance from Dave Stewart.

Toronto got the scoring started in the game in the first inning. Rickey Henderson scored the first run on a groundout by Roberto Alomar to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. The lead was short lived though, as the White Sox struck back with a single in the bottom of the inning on a bases loaded wild pitch.

The game remained tied until the fourth inning when the Jays plated two more runs. After White Sox starter Alex Fernandez retired the first two batters Paul Molitor hit a ground-rule double. Tony Fernandez followed with a single to score Molitor. Ed Sprague was intentionally walked, but Pat Borders made them pay with a single to drive in Fernandez. That put Toronto up 3-1.

Both pitchers kept opposing bats quiet for the next couple innings. However in the sixth Stewart ran into trouble. Frank Thomas led off the inning with a single to center and Robin Venture followed with a single to left. Ellis Burks then drew a walk to load the bases with none out. In a bind Stewart got tough and was able to get the next hitter, Dan Pasqua to fly out to shallow center. The fly ball wasn’t deep enough to score the slow Thomas from third. The next batter, Lance Johnson popped out to third for the second out. All Stewart had to do to escape the inning unscathed was get Warren Newsome who was pinch hitting for catcher Ron Karkovice. Newsome hit a chopper back to the mound which Stewart fielder and ran over to first for the unassisted out. Getting out of the bases loaded none out jam proved to be huge as the Jays went on to win 3-1 and take a 2-0 series lead.

 

10. 1992 World Series Game 3 – October 20, 1992

The third game of the 1992 World Series was the first World Series game played in Canada. If you saw this game you’ll likely remember two big moments. One in the middle of the game and another right at the end.

Let’s just jump to the fourth inning. Entering the fourth the game remained scoreless with both starters, Juan Guzman for Toronto and Steve Avery for Atlanta, in control. The Braves began the fourth with back-to-back singles by Deion Sanders and Terry Pendleton. In stepped David Justice and he ripped the first pitch he saw to deep center. Devon White raced back and made a leaping catch before crashing into the fence. Both runners were off on the crack of the bat and White was able to get the ball in quickly to double up Pendleton at first. This out wasn’t actually needed though, as Pendleton had already been called out for passing Sanders on the bases paths. Sanders was caught in a run down between second and third but was called safe sliding back into second. You can clearly see on the replay that a diving Kelly Gruber tagged Sanders on the heel and should have completed the triple play.

After a wild top of the fourth Joe Carter scored the games first run in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run off Avery. The scored remained 1-0 Toronto until the sixth when Justice tied the game with an RBI-single off Guzman. Atlanta would take their first lead of the game two innings later when Lonnie Smith drove in Otis Nixon in the eighth. The lead was short-lived as Gruber ended a prolonged slump with a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the inning.

The game was still tied in the bottom of the ninth. Avery was still in the game for Atlanta but got the hook after Roberto Alomar led off the inning with a single. After Mark Wohlers replaced Avery, Alomar quickly stole second. Atlanta proceeded to intentionally walk Joe Carter. Dave Winfield moved both runners into scoring position with an excellent sacrifice bunt. The Braves setup the force out by walking the next batter Ed Sprague. That left the bases loaded for Candy Maldonado, who would face veteran reliever Jeff Reardon.

Reardon quickly got ahead of Maldonado 0-2 on a pair of wicked breaking balls. He came back with the breaking ball again but this time Maldonado was ready and ripped it to deep center field. Alomar tomahawk-chopped to the plate and the Jays won 3-2.

 

9. 1985 ALCS Game 4 – October 12, 1985

Game 4 of the 1985 ALCS was quite the pitchers duel. Dave Stieb got the start for Toronto and he was opposed by Charlie Leibrandt for Kansas City.

Both starters put zeroes on the board for the first five innings. Kansas City finally broke the deadlock in the sixth inning. Lonnie Smith started the inning by drawing a walk and he advanced to third on a single by Willie Wilson. After George Brett was intentionally walked to load the bases Stieb couldn’t find the zone against Hal McRae. On a full count Stieb walked McRae to surrender the game’s first run.

Leibrandt continued to roll through the Jays hitters and made it to the ninth inning without giving up a single run. He started the ninth inning off on the wrong foot by walking Damaso Garcia. Lloyd Moseby then drilled a double into right field which scored Garcia all the way from first to tie the game. That was the end of Leibrandt, who was replaced by Royals closer Dan Quisenberry. The first batter Quisenberry faced was George Bell, who delivered a single to center to move Moseby to third. Al Oliver then pinch hit for Cliff Johnson and it proved to be a smart move by Bobby Cox. Oliver worked the count to 2-0 and ripped the next pitch to right field. Oliver’s double would score both Moseby and Bell and give Toronto a 3-1 lead.

In the ninth Tom Henke came on for the save and despite issuing a pair of walks he held the Royals at bay to secure the win and a 3-1 series lead for Toronto.

8. 1992 World Series Game 2 – October 18, 1992

The Blue Jays entered Game 2 of the 1992 World Series trailing Atlanta 1-0 in the series. David Cone got the start for the Blue Jays, while John Smoltz took to the hill for Atlanta.

The Braves struck first in the game, getting to Cone in the second inning. David Justice led off the inning with a walk and after stealing second advanced to third on a Jeff Blauser fielder’s choice. Justice would later score on a wild pitch to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead.

Controversy erupted in the fourth inning with the Jays batting. Roberto Alomar began the inning with a lead-off walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and ended up on third after a Dave Winfield ground out. With two out and John Olerud at the plate another pitch got away from Braves’ catcher Damon Berryhill. Alomar streaked for home sliding head first under Smoltz who tried to block the plate while catching a toss from Berryhill. Home plate umpire Mike Reilly called Alomar out even though the reply clearly showed he slide under Smoltz and touched the plate before the tag was applied.

To make matters worse the Braves added another run in the bottom of the fourth on a Mark Lemke single to lead 2-0. Toronto tied the score in the fifth following run-scoring singles by Cone and Devon White. Atlanta got back on top in the bottom of the inning, retaking the two-run lead after Deion
Sanders and Terry Pendelton both scored. That was also the end of Cone’s night, as he was pulled. Cone’s final line was 4 1-3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts. He arguably had a better game at the plate where he was 2-2 with an RBI.

The Brave maintained a 4-2 lead until the eighth inning. Alomar came through with a double and moved to third on a single by Joe Carter. Dave Winfield followed with a single to score Alomar and cut the deficit to one. That’s all the Jays would get and they headed to the ninth inning still trailing 4-3.

After a three-up-three down eighth inning from Duane Ward, Pat Borders led off the ninth inning by lining out to right field off Atlanta closer Jeff Reardon. Derek Bell pinch hit for Manuel Lee and drew a walk. Ward was due up next, but was replaced by pinch-hitter Ed Sprague. In only his third career postseason at bat Sprague smacked the first pitch he saw from Reardon over the left field wall for a two-run home run. The Jays led 5-4 and evened up the series 1-1.

 

7. 1992 World Series Game 4 – October 21, 1992

The fourth game of the 1992 World Series was an epic pitching battle between a pair of southpaws; Toronto’s Jimmy Key and Atlanta’s Tom Glavine.

Glavine had already stymied the Blue Jays in the series opener in which he allowed only one run in a complete-game four-hitter. Glavine was just as impressive in Game 4, but thankfully for Blue Jays fans he couldn’t match Key.

Key actually got off to a poor start in the game, giving up a single to lead-off batter Otis Nixon. He quickly erased Nixon by picking him off first base. That pickoff would prove key (no pun intended) as Jeff Blauser followed with a single. After Blauser’s single Key would retire the next 16 batters he faced. He did not allow another batter to reach base until Nixon singled again in the sixth inning.

Glavine was also cruising along but ran into some trouble in the third when Pat Borders cracked a solo home run to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. The Blue Jays were still leading 1-0 in the eighth when Kelly Gruber drew a lead-off walk. Borders followed with a fly out to center and Manuel Lee grounded out to the pitcher which allowed Gruber to move to second. With Gruber in scoring position Devon White lashed a single to left field which plated Gruber to put Toronto up 2-0.

The insurance run was needed, as the Braves finally got on the board in the eighth. Ron Gant got the inning started with a lead-off double. Brian Hunter reached on a bunt single to third, which moved Gant to third base. Key was able to get Damon Berryhill to pop out and Mark Lemke to ground out, but Gant scored to cut the Jays lead to one. That was the end of Key’s night as he left to a standing ovation. It would be the last time Toronto fans would see the long-time Blue Jay pitch in Toronto donning a Jays uniform. Duane Ward replaced Key and despite a wild pitch that would allow two runners to get into scoring position Ward did not allow another run.

The Blue Jays would win the game 2-1 with Key recording the victory. Key’s line in his final start for Toronto was 7 2-3 innings, one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

 

6. 1993 World Series Game 3 – October 19, 1993

Game 3 of the 1993 World Series was an interesting one for the Blue Jays. After opening the series at home, Game 3 was the first game of the series in Philadelphia under National League rules. That meant no DH which left Cito Gaston with a tough decision regarding Paul Molitor and John Olerud. During the regular season Olerud led the AL with a  .363 batting average and a 473 on base percentage. He also had the second best WAR in the AL at 7.4. Despite that, Molitor started at first base in Game 3 while Olerud watched from the dugout. It proved to be the right decision.

With the series tied following a split in Toronto the Jays started Game 3 with a bang. In the first inning Rickey Henderson led off the game by singling off Philadelphia started Danny Jackson. Devon White drew a walk and then Molitor smoked a triple to right to give Toronto a quick 2-0 lead. Molitor would later score on a Joe Carter sac fly and the Jays led 3-0 after only half an inning.

Molitor struck again in his next at bat in the third. With the Jays still holding a three-run lead Molitor crushed the first pitch he saw from Jackson into the right field seats. The solo blast gave Toronto a 4-0 lead.

The Jays added another run in the sixth and the Philles got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Jim Eisenreich plated the Phillies first run, scoring John Kruk on a single off Toronto starter Pat Hentgen. With Hentgen dealing the Jays led 5-1 after six innings.

The chance of a Phillies comeback was quickly squashed in the seventh. Henderson led off the inning with a double and came around the score on a White triple. After a walk to Molitor and a strikeout of Carter, Alomar drove in White with a single to right. Molitor would score again on an Ed Sprague sac fly and Toronto increased their lead to 8-1.

The Phillies tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Jays got that back and more in the ninth. Molitor reached base again on a single, but was forced out at second on a Carter ground ball. Carter would score on an Alomar triple and Robbie also scored on a Tony Fernandez single. That was it in a 10-2 Blue Jays rout.

Molitor finished the night 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored. Alomar also had a big game, going 4-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and a pair of steals. We should also mention Hentgen, who turned in a strong six innings, holding the Phillies to one run on five hits with six strikeouts.

 

5. 1985 ALCS Game 1 – October 8, 1985

The first playoff game in franchise history was obviously also the first postseason game in Toronto. The young Blue Jays didn’t disappoint the hometown fans, all 39,115 of them who came out for the series opener.

Toronto got the scoring started in the second inning. Facing Royals starter Charlie Leibrandt, Jesse Barfield led off the inning with a single to center. Willie Upshaw was hit by a pitch and a ground out by Garth Iorg forced out Barfield at third. Ernie Whitt and Tony Fernandez delivered back-to-back singles to score both Upshaw and Iorg to give Toronto an early 2-0 lead.

The Blue Jays offense exploded again the third inning, starting off with a lead-off double by Cliff Johnson. Barfield walked and Upshaw singled to load the bases. Rance Mulliniks singled in Johnson, followed by a bases loaded walk to Whitt and a sac fly by Fernandez. When the dust settled Toronto led 5-0.

As the Toronto offense continued raking up runs Stieb kept mowing through the Royals. Through the first four innings only three Royals reached base. Stieb retired the Royals three-up-three-down in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings while registering five strikeouts. The Blue Jays ace pitched eight shutout innings, allowing three hits with eight strikeouts and one walk to earn the win in a 6-1 Blue Jays victory.

 

4. 1993 World Series Game 4 – October 20, 1993

If you’re a fan of offense then you loved the fourth game of the 1993 World Series. It was a record-setting night with new World Series records set for the longest game, most runs scored in a single game and most runs scored by a losing team.

The offensive onslaught began in the first inning. The Blue Jays scored three runs off Phillies’ starter Tommy Greene in the first. Paul Molitor was walked with the bases loaded and Tony Fernandez plated a pair with a single. The three-run lead was short-lived as the Phillies tagged Todd Stottlemyre for  four runs in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by a base-loaded triple by Milt Thompson.

Stottlemyre led off the second inning for Toronto and surprisingly drew a walk. He unwisely tried to go from first to third on a single by Roberto Alomar later in the inning and not only was he tagged out, but he scraped his chin through the dirt sliding into third.

With his chin literally battered and bloody, Stottlemyre remained in the game to pitch the bottom of the second. He would have been better off leaving the game.  Greene led off the second with a single and scored on a two-run home run by Lenny Dykstra to give Philly a 6-3 lead. Stottlemyre would finish the inning, but his night would be over.

In the third Toronto would strike back and chase Phillies’ starter Greene from the game. After a John Olerud walk, Molitor, Fernandez and Pat Borders delivered three consecutive singles to score Olerud and Molitor. Rob Butler reached on a fielder’s choice and also scored, along with Fernandez on a Devon White single. Philadelphia reliever Roger Mason struck out Alomar to end the inning, but the damage was done and Toronto led 7-6.

The Jays held onto the lead for only an inning, as the Phillies tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI-single by Mariano Duncan. The Phillies offense erupted again in the fifth inning for five runs. Darren Daulton and Dykstra both hit two-run home runs off Al Leiter and Thompson picked up another RBI with a double.

The Blue Jays cut into the Phillies 12-7 lead in the sixth with two mores runs on an RBI single by Alomar and a run-scoring ground out by Fernandez. In the bottom of the inning Thompson remained a thorn in the Blue Jays side with another RBI to give Philadelphia a 13-9 lead. After scoring another run in the seventh the Phillies appeared to have a comfortable 14-9 lead with two innings to play.

In the eighth inning the Phillies comfortable lead quickly evaporated. The Jays started the eighth with a whimper as Alomar grounded out to third. Then it started. Joe Carter singled, followed by a walk to  Olerud and an RBI-double from Molitor. 14-10. After Molitor’s double the Phillies brought in closer Mitch Williams but he could not stop the bleeding. Fernandez drove in Olerud to make it 14-11 and Borders walked. The Phillies finally got another out by striking out Ed Sprague, but Henderson plated two more with a single that scored Molitor and Fernandez. 14-13. With Borders and Henderson aboard White slammed a triple to deep center to score both of them. 15-14.

That would be the final score after Duane Ward worked a perfect ninth inning to earn the save. In the high-scoring slugfest the Blue Jays combined for 29 runs and 32 hits. Fernandez led the Jays with five RBI and White had four RBI in the win. Even more amazingly, the Blue Jays scored 15 runs without hitting a single home run in the game.

 

3. 1992 World Series Game 6 – October 24, 1992

“For the first time in history, the world championship banner will fly north of the border.” Those words form Sean McDonough ended Game 6 of the 1992 World Series, but before that Blue Jays fans were treated to a back-and-forth contest that went into the early hours of the morning.

The pitching matchup for Game 6 was David Cone for Toronto and Steve Avery for Atlanta. Toronto got to Avery early with a single run in the first inning. Devon White began the inning with a single to left field and after stealing second would score on a Joe Carter fly ball that Dave Justice misplayed.

The Braves tied it up in the third inning thanks to Deion Sanders. Neon Deion doubled and stole third. He came in to score on a sac fly by Terry Pendleton to get the Braves on the board. The tie didn’t last long, as Candy Maldonado put Toronto back on top in the fourth inning with a solo home run.

After Maldonado’s home run pitching took over and shutdown both sides for the next five innings. Cone lasted six innings, allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts.. He left in the seventh and Todd Stottlemyre, David Wells and Duane Ward carried the load, shutting out the Braves to preserve the lead heading into the ninth.

Tom Henke came in to lock down the save in the ninth but ran into trouble right away. Jeff Blauser led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Damon Berryhill. Lonnie Smith was walked to set up the double play ball. Pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera, who delivered the series-winning hit against the Pirates in the NLCS, then lined out. The Jays were now one out away from their first championship with Otis Nixon coming to the plate. Nixon spoiled things by slapping a single to left which scored Blauser to tie the game. Henke then retired Ron Gant on a fly out to center to send the game to extra innings.

Both teams failed to score in the tenth as Charlie Leibrandt held the Blue Jays at bay and Jimmy Key stifled the Braves. In the 11th inning Key surprisingly led off the inning a the plate and fouled out to first base. White then reached first after getting hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single by Roberto Alomar. Leibrandt retired Carter on a fly out to center for the second out of the inning. Dave Winfield came to the plate looking to redeem himself after a lackluster series. He did just that, working the count full and knocking a double down the third base line. The ball bounced around in the corner, evading Ron Gant which allowed both White and Alomar to score putting the Jays up 4-2.

With a two-run cushion in the bottom of the 11th Key returned to the mound. He quickly ran into trouble as Blauser hit a lead-off single. Berryhill came to bat next and reached on a error by shortstop Alfredo Griffin that also allowed Blauser to advance to third. Key retired Ronnie Belliard for the first out of the inning, but John Smoltz, who was inserted as a pinch-runner for Berryhill advanced to second. Brian Hunter pinch hit for Leibrandt and hit a soft ground out to first which scored Blauser from third. Smoltz also moved to third leaving the tying run 90 feet away with two out.

Just like in the ninth inning Nixon came to the bat with the Braves in search of the tying run. Nixon wouldn’t face Key though. In a unexpected move Cito Gaston pulled Key in favor of the right-hander Mike Timlin. Nixon fouled off Timlin’s first pitch. On the next pitch the speedy Nixon laid down a bunt. Timlin pounced on it, threw to first where Carter caught the ball and went crazy along with the entire nation from coast to coast.

 

2. 1993 World Series Game 6 – October 23, 1993

After getting shutout down by Phillies’ ace Curt Schilling in Game 5 the Blue Jays had another shot to clinch their second-straight World Series in Game 6.

Dave Stewart got the stat for the Blue Jays against the Phillies’ Terry Mulholland. Toronto beat up on Mulholland early on. In the first inning with one out Devon White drew a walk and scored on a Paul Molitor triple. Molitor would come home on a Joe Carter sac fly. The onslaught continued as John Olerud doubled and scored on a Roberto Alomar single. When Mulholland finally recorded the third out of the inning the Jays had a 3-0 lead.

Stewart cruised through the first three innings before the Phillies got to him in the fourth. Darren Daulton ripped a double to left and scored the Phillies first run on a Jim Eisenreich single. Toronto got that run back in the bottom of the inning after Alomar delivered a lead off double and eventually scored on an Ed Sprague sacrifice fly. The Jays tacked on another run in the fifth inning on a solo home run by Molitor to lead 5-1.

Stewart continued to hold the Phillies at bay until the seventh inning. Kevin Stocker began the inning by drawing a walk and moved to third on a Mickey Morandini single. Lenny Dykstra launched a home run to deep right field to score them both and cut Toronto’s lead to a single run. Danny Cox replaced Stewart on the mound, but surrendered a single to the first batter he faced, Mariano Duncan. Cox struck out John Kruk, but after Duncan stole second he gave up an RBI-single to Dave Hollins to tie the game at 5-5. Cox then walked Daulton and surrendered a single to Jim Eisenreich. That ended Cox’s night, but his replacement Al Leiter couldn’t keep the Phillies from taking the lead on a Pete Incaviglia sacrifice fly.

After the Phillies’ five-run seventh inning Philadelphia led 6-5, but the offense dried up for both sides. The Blue Jays were retired in order in the seventh inning and in the eighth Olerud and Sprague both walked but were stranded.

In the ninth inning Mitch Williams entered the game to try to hold the Phillies one-run lead and extend the series to a seventh and deciding game. The Wild Thing lived up to his name and walked Rickey Henderson on four pitches. Williams retired White on a fly out to center but Molitor  kept the rally going with a sharp single to center.

With two on and one out Carter stepped in to face Williams. Carter took the first two pitches both balls to get ahead 2-0. Carter took the next pitch, a strike to raise the count to 2-1. Carter swung wildly and missed a the next pitch to even the count 2-2. I’ll let former CBS Sean McDonough announcer take it from here.

“Now the 2-2. Well hit down the left base line. Way back and gone! Joe Carter, with a three-run homer. The winners and still world champions, the Toronto Blue Jays.”

 

1. 1992 ALCS Game 4 – October 11, 1992.

The Blue Jay faced the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of the 1992 ALCS leading the series 2-1. Jack Morris got the start for Toronto, while Bob Welch took the mound for Oakland.

Toronto got on the board first in the second inning on a solo home run by John Olerud. Morris quickly gave that run back and more in the bottom of the third. Mike Bordick led off with a single and Lance Blankenship and Rickey Henderson both followed with singles to score Bordick. A walk to Jerry Browne loaded the bases and a deep sac fly to right from Ruben Sierra brought in Blankenship to make it 2-0 Oakland. The A’s continued to tee off on Morris with a double by Harold Baines, back-to-back walks to Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach and an RBI-single from Carney Lansford. Bordick made his second plate appearance of the inning and grounded out to finally end the rally. After the five-run outburst Oakland was on top 5-1.

Welch kept the Toronto bats silent, limiting them to three hits over the next four innings. Oakland extended their lead to five runs in the sixth inning after Ruben Sierra drove in Henderson on a double off Todd Stottlemyre.

Heading into the eighth inning Toronto still trailed 6-1. Alomar began the inning with a double that chased Welch from the game. Reliever Jeff Parrett replaced Welch on the mound and Alomar immediately stole third. Joe Carter singled to drive in Alomar and moved to third on a Dave Winfield single. After  surrendering back-to-back singles Parrett got the hook and Oakland turned to closer and reigning Cy Young Award winner Dennis Eckersley.

Eckersley wasn’t able to stop the Jays offensive juggernaut. John Olerud singled to drive in Carter and Candy Maldonado also singled to plate Winfield. Eckerlsey finally got an out by getting Kelly Gruber to fly ouy. Ed Sprague came in to pinch hit for Manuel Lee and Eckersely stuck him out to end the inning. Following the strike out Eckersely celebrated with a massive fist pump and pointed toward the Toronto dugout which would only rile up the Jays, who had scored three runs to cut the Oakland lead to 6-4.

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth by Mike Timlin, Eckerlsey returned to the hill for the A’s in the ninth. White led off the inning with a single and moved all the way to third base on an error by Henderson. The stage was set for Alomar to do some damage. After working the count to 2-2 Alomar changed the fate of the game and arguably the series by crushing Eckersley’s next pitch over the right field wall. Here’s how CBS’s Dick Stockton called it…

“A drive to right field, Sierra going back, looking up and this game is tied! Roberto Alomar!”

With the game tied and Oakland failing to score in the bottom of the ninth Game 4 headed to extra innings. Both teams were held scoreless in the tenth inning. Kelly Downs, who came on to get the final batter for Oakland in the tenth remained in the game to pitch the 11th. He began the inning by walking Derek Bell. Bell then advanced to third on a single by Candy Maldonado. Kelly Gruber lined out to third for the first out of the inning and Pat Borders followed with a sac fly to score Bell and give Toronto a 7-6 lead.

Tom Henke came on for the save in the bottom of the 11th and got fly outs from Willie Wilson, Sierra and McGwire to close out the game. At the time this win was considered one of the most important in franchise history. It finally put to rest the playoff choker tag the Jays had been labeled with and was the first step to their first World Series title.

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