It was all on the line in game five of the American League Division Series in Toronto as the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers were battling for a right to play in the American League Championship Series and keep their World Series hopes alive.
Just when you thought you have seen everything in baseball, you really haven't. The intensity, controversy and pure emotion seen in this game was absolutely incredible.
Going into the seventh inning, the score was tied at 2-2. The Rangers scored single runs in the first and third innings, and the Blue Jays scored in the third and then in the sixth by way of an Edwin Encarnacion solo home run that traveled 436 feet.
That all set up one of the most insane and improbable innings in baseball history. It took 53 minutes to complete, but it had fans on the edge of their seats (and out of their seats) the entire time.
It all started with a lead off single by Rougned Odor for the Rangers. Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez had just come into the game, but after Odor, got the next two Rangers batters in succession. That's where the improbable happened.
After a pitch to make the count 2-2 on Shin-Soo Choo, while throwing the ball back to Sanchez, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin hit the bat of Choo making the ball ricochet up the third base line. Odor being alert, came across to score, or so he thought at the time. Home plate umpire Dale Scott originally said that it was a dead ball, but after meeting with his crew of umpires, they decided that the run counted which gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead.
This sparked one of the most improbable situations baseball has ever seen. According to the rule book, the umpires got it right, but for Toronto, all hell broke loose. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to talk to Scott and it sparked outrage all throughout Rogers Centre. Things were being thrown on to the field, benches were clearing, but there was still baseball to play and the Blue Jays had work to do.
Heading to the bottom of the inning, things got even more absurd if you could believe that.
The Rangers committed three straight errors to begin the inning which ended the outing for Rangers starter Cole Hamels. With the bases loaded and no outs, Ben Revere grounded a ball at first baseman Mitch Moreland who fired a seed to home to get the first out of the inning.
With one out and the bases still loaded, it was Josh Donaldson's turn to make something happen. Donaldson ended up hitting a bloop over the head of Odor at second forcing in a run and the game was tied. During the play, Revere was thrown out at second because of the bloop that had a chance to be caught.
What happened next, continued this fascinating inning. Jose Bautista came to the plate with runners on first and third and two outs and came up with one of the most clutch postseason home runs (and a bat flip to boot) in baseball history to give the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. Once again, Rogers Centre went nuts and it just continued the unwritten script this game was following.
After the inning was over, the benches cleared for a second time which showed the true, raw emotion that was coming out in this game. The atmosphere in that stadium was everything you'd want postseason baseball to be.
In the eighth inning, the Rangers put runners on first and second with one out and that's when Gibbons went to his closer in Roberto Osuna for a five out save. He then came back to strike out the next two batters and to the ninth we went.
Osuna came back out for the ninth and set the Rangers down 1-2-3 to preserve the win for the Blue Jays and send them on their way to their first ALCS since 1993.
Cole Hamels and Marcus Stroman started this game for the Rangers and Blue Jays respectively, and both pitched great ball games. Stroman went six innings giving up two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one. Hamels went 6.1 innings giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out eight and walking two.
Someone had to lose, and it just happened to be the Rangers. The Blue Jays fought back in this game, but also in the series winning the final three games to advance.
The Blue Jays have become the third team in playoff history to win a five-game series after losing the first two games of the series on their home field.
One of the most incredible games had to come to an end eventually, and it was a game that will go down in baseball history.
The pure emotion and intensity of this game was just off the charts.
Now, the Blue Jays advance to the ALCS which will begin on Friday against the winner of the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros game in the other American League series.
What a ballgame. It's everything you'd ever want playoff baseball to be.
WP: Aaron Sanchez
LP: Cole Hamels
SV: Roberto Osuna