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The Blue Jays overcame an 8-0 deficit to win by five runs

Jun 20, 2014, 11:25 PM EDT

Edwin Encarnacion Edwin Encarnacion

If the Blue Jays wind up winning the AL East in September, mark down June 20 as a game to remember. Starter Liam Hendriks and reliever Todd Redmond combined forces to allow eight runs in the second inning to the Reds, bookended by two-run home runs to Devin Mesoraco and Jay Bruce.

The Jays answered immediately, as Edwin Encarnacion blasted his 22nd home run in the top of the third, a three-run blast to make it 8-3. In the seventh, following a solo home run by Brett Lawrie and a two-run homer by Juan Francisco, the Jays were within one run at 9-8. Dioner Navarro doubled in the tying run in the eighth inning, but the Jays weren’t even close to done.

In the top of the ninth, facing Aroldis Chapman, the Jays strung together two walks and two hits to go up 11-9. With Encarnacion batting, Sam LeCure relieved Chapman, but he couldn’t get the job done, either. Encarnacion blasted another three-run home run — his second of the game and 23rd of the season — to make it 14-9.

To put in perspective how improbable the comeback was, FanGraphs gave the Jays a 1.6 percent chance to win after the bottom of the second. It fell to a game-low 1.1 percent after Jose Reyes grounded out in the top of the third inning for the second out. Following Encarnacion’s home run in the ninth, they were 99.5 percent to win. The graph at FanGraphs is nuts.

  1. thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Crazy game, was flipping between that and the Tiger/Indian game. Jays needed a win like this tonight

    • renaado - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      I’d put this in the record books as one of the greatest comebacks this season.

  2. renaado - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:32 PM


  3. nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    The moral of the story: When you’re up by 6 runs in the 7th inning and trying hard for more and clowns start ranting about the Unwritten Rules, it might be impolite but otherwise not at all unreasonable to tell them to STFU.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      The score tonight was 9 to 5 after 6 innings and 9 to 8 after 7 innings. When Latos was knocked out of the game in the 6th inning, it was obvious that Toronto had momentum.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        I know. I should have made it clear I was speaking in generalities about big leads.
        PS, score in the story says 15-9 but I think it was ONLY 14-9.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:09 AM

        After I wrote my comments, I realized that you were speaking in generalities. Once the score was 14 to 9, the Jays did take slight pity on the Reds as they let McGowan hit for himself in the 9th even though they were about to bring in Janssen to pitch. Before the second homer by Encarnacion, they had Tolleson on deck.

  4. hittfamily - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    David Ross would have tried to fight the Jay’s for not conceding the game. I just hope there were no stolen bases.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Both Hamilton and Bruce had stolen bases. After giving up 8 runs in the second inning, the Jays immediately scored 3 in the top of the third. It was quite obvious right then that the game was not over.

      • hittfamily - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        Really? Well, Cincy clearly was goading the Jays on, trying to rub it in.

  5. platediscipline - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    There are some atrocious, atrocious bullpens this year. The Reds trying hard to make their claim as the worst.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:15 AM

      Broxton to Chapman are probably the best set-up / closer 1-2 punch in baseball. The rest of it you they can piece together. At least half the teams in baseball would trade their entire relief corps straight up for the Reds’ relief corps.

      • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        It falls straight off the cliff after those two. Broxton has been brilliant until last night, Chapman has been Chapman, but the rest–LeCure, Parra, Ondrusek, Marshall (now out yet again), Hoover, last night’s newbie Diaz, and whoever else–bleh at best, “oh, my” most of the time.

    • paperlions - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      An under-rated note to this game is that the Jays bullpen settled down and gave up only 1 run through the final 7 innings, allowing only a single hit the last 4.

  6. paint771 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    Jays sure needed this. As good as their May was their June has threatened to bury them.

    The EE homer put it away but worth noting how well managed the game was by Gibby and how all-hands-on-deck it was. Short bullpen to start and the starter was out after 1.2. Hell, the majority of Toronto’s starting rotation played in this game – two of them as pinch runners in the eigth.

  7. proudlycanadian - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    The Hendriks experience a tad off key tonight; however, the Jays eventually found a way to rock and roll. Jose Bautista went hitless, but had an RBI and 4 walks. He was on base for both of Edwin’s homers. Walking Bautista to get to Encarnacion just doesn’t work as Encarnacion now leads the league in both home runs and RBI’s. A great fielding play by Kawasaki helped. Kawasaki also ran up Chapman’s pitch count in the 9th before getting a single. Since he threw 33 pitches, Chapman will not be available tomorrow and may not be available on Sunday.

  8. cur68 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Thank you Jobu. More rum? Another cigar? Just help Juan Francisco hit the breaking ball, ok? He no can do it himself. Straight ball though, he hit that very much…

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:18 AM

      The bats didn’t realize until the 3rd inning that they were no longer in Yankee Stadium.

    • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      The new Reds reliever who gave up the Francisco homer, “Jumbo” Diaz, does indeed throw very hard, but very straight. Both Lawrie and Francisco went opposite field on him.

  9. phillysports1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    Dominican Power !

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:24 AM

      Is that related to dominatrix power?

  10. moogro - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    A lot of close baseball games tonight. Loads of fun.

  11. kiwicricket - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    Not sure what planet or script the pitch calling was coming from for Chapman. It was insane.

    Changeup, slider, slider, slider, FB, and then another slider= 2B….to Kratz. Game tied.
    The guy throws 100mph, why mess with it and spray a bunch of off-speed stuff all over the place?
    The wheels completely fell off after this AB.

    • cur68 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:30 AM

      Jobu. It was Jobu calling the pitches. ‘Roldy will be ok in a couple of days. You might wanna stock up on fine cigars and that sweet, sweet Cuban rum next time ‘Roldy’s gonna pitch to The Beaver Worshipers.

    • Mark - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      He had no control over his fastball and that’s why he tried going with the offspeed stuff.

      • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        But every slider was in the dirt, too. The fastball was wild, but at least it was in the strike zone once in a while.

  12. johnhenryholliday - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:10 AM

    interesting note; redmond, encarnacion, francisco, and navarro- all former reds.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      In a trade deadline deal in 2009, The Jays sent Scott Rolen to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart. The Jays wanted the 2 young pitchers but the Reds insisted that the Jays had to also take Encarnacion who was hitting .209 and had a $4.75 million contract. The 2 pitchers had mediocre careers; however, Encarnacion eventually turned his career around in Toronto. He had hit 26 home runs in 2008, but had only hit 5 when he was traded.

      • paperlions - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        E5 always had the power, but he was far too free of a swinger. It took him a while, but he finally developed a solid approach at the plate that allowed the power to play up.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        He was also moved from third base. Far too many of those errors were throwing errors. Last night he made an errant throw from first to third.

      • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        EE was a lousy defensive 3B, true, but the Reds also screwed around with him. It seemed like every time he had a good game, say 2-for-4 with a homer, he’d be on the bench the next day “because he needs a break”, “because the bench players need some action”, etc.–always some excuse. But if he was slumping, they’d leave him out there to suffer instead of giving him a “mental break” like most guys get. In addition, there was zero support for him as a Latino player trying to adapt to being in a very Latino-light environment.

        He was no great player here, but he was treated very badly by the organization. I’m not particularly a Jays fan, but I smile every time he hits one out.

      • theroc5156 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        A “Latino-light” environment?

        They had Francisco Cordero, Juan Francisco, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Ramon Hernandez, Willy Taveras, Wilkin Castillo and Ramon Ramirez on the team.

  13. proudlycanadian - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    In this game Gibbons made all the right moves and the players responded. Even though he was short a relief pitcher, Gibbons removed Hendriks in the second inning. He had Lind successfully pinch hit for Redmond. Lind can’t run well due to a sore foot so he had a pitcher (Hutchinson) run for him. The next time the pitcher’s spot came up, he had Francisco pinch hit. Francisco homered. After Navarro’s key run scoring double, that slow footed runner was replaced on the bases by another pitcher (Stroman). Then he used the old double switch with the new catcher (Kratz) hitting in the pitchers spot and the new pitcher (McGowan) hitting in Navarro’s spot. Kratz responded with a key hit. He was planning to use Steve Tolleson to hit for McGowan, but by that time the score was 14 to 9 and he let McGowan have an at bat even though Janssen was coming in to replace him in the 9th.

    • superpriebe - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Great comment. It looks like the 9-hole going 3-for-4 2R 2HR 4RBI was a huge part of a huge night.

    • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      Gibbons clearly outmanaged Price. I didn’t understand why Price didn’t double-switch in the 6th with two out, when he took Latos (due to lead off) out. OK, since Parra was brought in to face one batter, maybe he didn’t need to do it. But when Parra walked his guy and they were going to change pitchers again, why not double-switch then so Ondrusek could keep pitching?

      By the time they got to the ninth, the Reds were on their fifth reliever in Chapman. Had the game gone extras, Toronto would have had a large advantage due to the Reds depleting their bullpen so quickly.

      But remember, AL managers can’t manage in NL parks. This is Known Wisdom, the media have proclaimed it To Be So.

      • paint771 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        If it did go to extras, Toronto would have had Aaron Loup ready, and position players after that.

  14. nbjays - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    After the second inning, I was ready to head for bed. I’m fighting a nasty cold and needed the sleep. However, after Edwin’s first blast, I thought maybe it just might be worth staying up for. I wasn’t wrong. Wow! Everyone had a part in that victory, except for maybe Hendriks. Pinch hitters that both got big hits, starting pitchers as pinch runners, a short bullpen that held the Reds to just one run after the 2nd, Muni’s patience at the plate, dropping a nice bunt and flashing the leather, Joey Bats being Joey Walks (which is nothing new, really) and Edwin being Edwin. All in all, a damn fun game to watch and a much-needed shot in the arm.

    • mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      The two ex-Reds, EE and Francisco, combined for three HR and eight RBI. I’ll bet they felt a bit good after that game.

  15. Mark - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    That was an awesome game. I figured they were done in the second inning and I still can’t believe they came back to win. They scored more runs in this game than they did in the whole series against the Yankees.

    This is huge considering what a slump the bats were in. Hopefully they can push back and maintain their lead in the East. Easily the best Jays game of the season.

  16. nbjays - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Fun fact: 11 of the Blue Jays’ 14 runs came with 2 outs.

  17. metalhead65 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    and latos once again shows how much he did not another rehab start with this performance. 2 starts and 2 games where he can’t go past 5 innings without throwing a 100 pitches and get into trouble. I am not cutting this immature baby any slack over just returning from injury either. the reds wanted him to make another start in part to build up his stamina and to make sure he was fully recovered from his injuries. he made it but whined and cried about how he was ready to go now, well he sure has not looked the part of ace pitcher so far has he? broxton and chapman were due to have a bad outing but the rest of the pen is just to inconsistent and looks tired right now. maybe that comes from being used everyday and some guys being used for 1 hitter only. it may not please the metric lovers but I long for the days when a relief pitchers job was to get the guy out not matter what side he swung the bat from. it should not take 3 or more pitchers an inning to get the side out.

  18. bigjimatch - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    shouldn’t it be a “0-8 deficit”?

  19. mazblast - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    I was at the game. Plenty of Jays fans there, too, immediately recognizable in their blue against a sea of red. Loud, enthusiastic, yet polite.

    As someone who lives in Cincy but is an apostate/heretic/blasphemer who doesn’t like the Reds, I was torn because I have Latos in one of my fantasy leagues. Eight-run lead (four of the eight because Rasmus barely moved for a ball he should have caught for the third out in the eight-run second, with Melky trying to make the play and failing). EE got them some runs with his first bomb, Latos ran out of gas, Price burns TWO relievers with the pitcher’s spot due to lead off in the bottom of the 6th; he easily could have double-switched and didn’t. Price brings in the new (but 30-year-old) reliever in the 7th, who throws very hard but very straight and gives up two opposite-field HRs in his inning, one to ex-Red Juan Francisco. 9-8 then.

    Broxton, who has been lights-out all year, gives up a tying double to Navarro (IIRC). Reds fans and players clearly demoralized, my fantasy win gone (I’m near the bottom of the standings in that league anyways). Chapman comes in with all the fanfare, fastball all over the place and slider in the dirt every time. Jays keep working the count, finally break through (Kratz?). LeCure comes in, and as soon as EE connected the only question was how far up the second deck it would land. The crazy thing is that I wound up with the win because I have McGowan in a league where I am kind of contending!

    Second biggest comeback in Jays’ history. An absolutely crazy game. Congratulations to Toronto for never quitting, to their fans in attendance for their enthusiasm, and especially to EE and Francisco, the ex-Reds who combined for three home runs and eight RBI.

  20. theroc5156 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Encarnacion’s stats have been great lately (cough cough PEDs cough). Good for him.

    Rolen helped lead the Reds to two playoff appearances (3 if you count the one game playoff loss).

  21. theroc5156 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Oh, and Leake is going to get drilled today. No way he gives up less than 3 dingers.

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