One of the great match-ups this week is the Texas Rangers visiting Toronto playing the Blue Jays. The Rangers are already a great team, the Blue Jays are heading in that direction.
Last night, the two teams played an exciting game, all be it a tad sloppy in the field and on the mound, but exciting nonetheless. The Jays recovered from a 5-0 deficit sparked by a long awaited Jose Bautista homer and a Kelly Johnson three-run homer that bounced off the top of the wall into the stands.
The game ended with a blown save by vulture winner Francisco Cordero, followed by a leadoff walkoff by Brett Lawrie…off the top of the wall as well, which prompted Rangers manager Ron Washington to tell the AP, “I’ve never seen two of them,” Washington said. “Guess (the Blue Jays) know their ballpark pretty good.”
Lawrie now has 12 career homers and two walkoffs. His first one was hit in the 11th inning of a scoreless game last September 5 off of Dan Wheeler of the Red Sox. In case you’re curious (I was), Boston still had a seven game lead over the Rays after that loss and the next night Boston topped Toronto, 14-0.
Those of in the Billy-Ball.com newsroom were also curious as to how many walkoff homers the Blue Jays have hit. Now, in their 36th season, the Jays have hit a grand total of 5653 homers of which 62 have been walkoffs.
The Jays first walkoff was hit by Bob Bailor off of Detroit’s Jim Crawford in the 13th inning on July 15, 1977.
There have been 40 Jays who have hit walkoffs led by Jesse Barfield, Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, Carlos Delgado, Joe Carter, and George Bell who hit three each. Lawrie is the 10th Jay to hit two walkoffs in a list that includes TV announcer Buck Martinez, but not radio announcer Jerry Howarth.
In their history, the Jays trailed in the game 13 times when the walkoff was hit and 12 batters brought them to victory (George Bell did it twice). The most recent was hit by Yunel Escobar whose two-run homer in the 13th beat Grant Balfour of the A’s on April 5, 2011.
The Tigers have been the victims seven times, while the Mariners and Orioles got smacked six times each.
Lawrie’s blast was the first walkoff homer and first walkoff hit of the season for the Jays.
The two teams wrap up their series this afternoon.