For many fans, there are certain games that will always resonate throughout thier memory with regards to a favorite team. Me? I’m no different.
Naturally, the World Series run comes to mind highlighted by Roberto Alomar’s game 3 heroics off Dennis Eckersley in 92 and Joe Carters Home Run off Mitch Williams the following year. Other notables include Roger Roger Clemens 18 K performance, Carlos Delgado’s 4 Home Runs off Tampa Bay and more recently, Jose Bautista passing George Bell with his 48th long ball of the season in 2010.
For some reason, a 2007 game vs the Colorado Rockies has lodged it’s way into this list of memorable Blue Jay contests from the past.
At the time, this series appeared to be just another set of games between a pair of clubs that were kicking around their respective divisions. The Blue Jays were 12.5 games out of 1st place with a 35-37 record and things were beginning to look bleak for a club that was chasing New York and Boston in the standings.
Both teams would put up impressive seasons however this series took place well before the Blue Jays and Rockies truly began to rally. Toronto would go onto record 83 wins in the tough AL East as the Rockies on the other hand were 4 games out at the time and endded up playing great baseball down the stretch en route to appearing in their first World Series in franchise history.
With the Blue Jays at home in front of a crowd of 27,396, the Rockies rolled into SkyDome looking to put the hurt on a Toronto club that they had never lost a game to in 3 chances.
The game itself was a wild one with both teams scrapping it out on the diamond. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great night to be a pitcher under the lights at the Dome as a combined 17 Runs crossed the plate.
Both starters (Josh Towers for Toronto and Jason Hirsh for Colorado) never made it out of the 5th as pitch counts and ineffectiveness began to catch up with the duo. By the 6th, Colorado was ahead 6-5 and with one of the best Bullpens in the National League, the Blue Jays chances were looking grim.
In the 7th, Troy Glaus would drive a Jorge Julio offering deep to CF before finding the mitt of Ryan Spilborghs allowing Vernon Wells to race home with the tying Run and with the Sacrifice fly, the game was knotted up at 6.
This score would hold into extra innings before Colorado rallied for a pair of 10th inning Runs off a dominant Jeremy Accardo who was experiencing one of his best seasons at the Major League level.
With the Blue Jays down by 2 and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle calling on a closer in Brian Fuentes who had recorded an ERA under 2.50 on the season, Toronto was faced with a tough situation.
Frank Thomas led off with a pop up into shallow CF and was followed by a trio of Blue Jay singles to load the bases for Toronto’s shortstop, John McDonald. McDonald who was undoubtedly one of the clubs biggest fan favorites at the time (if not all time) was never known as much of an offensive threat and with Fuentes pressing with the bases jacked, he chose to challenge McDonald in the zone.
Johnny Mac responded by sending a 1-2 fastball into LF for a clean base hit which in turn cleared the bases and iced the Blue Jays first win of the series.
The Blue Jays had completed the comeback in dramatic style taking the Rockies to the limit before breaking out and sealing the first game vs the future World Series club.
You already know that John Gibbons was managing but it’s worth noting that Adam Lind was in Left Field during this game. Sitting in the Bullpen was Casey Janssen and on the bench 2 days prior to throwing one of the most dominate games in club history was Dustin McGowan, all of which are still with the club 6 years later.
A baseball game can often tun into a roller coaster of emotions for its fans and this game proves that theory. If the blue Jays didn’t come back to win that game perhaps I wouldn’t be as fond of this memory.
Perhaps the Rockies wouldn’t have had to press to secure a postseason berth taking the Padres to a 1 game playoff before moving on to the NLDS… Who knows?
Complete details from this game can be found here - http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR200706220.shtml