By Rob Longley
CHICAGO — For the hundreds of Toronto Blue Jays followers who made the journey right here to see their group in a uncommon go to to an historic baseball shrine, the reminiscences will probably be many.
For the struggling group they got here to assist, the Sunday afternoon catastrophe at Wrigley Area will probably be troublesome to overlook.
The place to begin with the spectacular collapse within the backside of the 10th that allowed the World Sequence champion Cubs to attain three runs and stroll it off with a 6-5 win and a three-game sequence sweep?
How about with the phrases of supervisor John Gibbons, who has seen loads of dangerous baseball from his 59-65 membership this season, however was left principally speechless within the carnage of the newest defeat.
“I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen something prefer it,” Gibbons mentioned in his workplace exterior the cramped quarters of the guests’ clubhouse. “We performed onerous to get to that time and I don’t even know react, to be trustworthy with you.”
There are many reactions, in fact.
Anger. Frustration. And a sense of futility as all-star nearer Roberto Osuna and struggling catcher Raffy Lopez let this one get away.
The ultimate bullet got here on a bases-loaded single by Alex Avila, a lot to the delight of the Cubs followers who’ve develop into quite spoiled of late.
With the defeat, the Jays fell 5 video games out of the second American League wildcard spot and had been swept in a sequence of three video games or extra for the third time this season. It might quickly be time to cease wanting on the standings.
The deadly 10th was a catastrophe from the beginning for Osuna, who recorded his eighth blown save, tied for essentially the most within the majors.
By the point it was performed, he had been charged with a pair of untamed pitches that Lopez wasn’t capable of corral, permitting runners to advance. There have been additionally two hits and successful batsman and a head-shaking three earned runs to ship the Jays to what could have been their most gutting defeat in a season that has seen quite a lot of.
“You’re simply in awe. You’ll be able to’t imagine these issues are taking place,” mentioned Jays beginning pitcher Marco Estrada, who went six strong innings permitting three earned runs. “The sport was over, you understand. We performed our butts off at this time and we had it. Sadly, all of it fell aside.”
Gibbons was in awe as properly, although privately, he’d seemingly use one other time period for it. When Osuna was bumbling his approach via the horrible 10th, he visited his usually clutch nearer for what he mentioned was the primary time.
And positively by the look of it, the supervisor wasn’t discussing the deserves of Chicago deep dish over skinny crust.
“I had some issues for him,” Gibbons mentioned with out additional elaboration. You’ll be able to guess it needed to do with throwing fastballs over the plate quite than different choices within the grime.
Although the Jays have an off day on Monday in Tampa earlier than going through the Rays in a three-game sequence starting on Tuesday, this one will probably be robust to shake.
And it’ll even be onerous to retain any form of optimism, as Toronto’s probabilities of making it to the post-season for a 3rd consecutive yr basically fizzled with the three robust losses.
“We have to go on a run,” Estrada mentioned. “It’s getting near the top and we’ve to make up some floor. It’s unlucky this occurred at this time. We actually wanted this. Each recreation (within the sequence) was shut. We had been in every recreation and none of them went our approach.
“It’s robust to take with that loss, the way in which issues occurred.”
The collapse was made that a lot harder due to the way in which the Jays fought their approach again, first from a 3-1 lead, then getting an enormous raise when reliever Ryan Tepera dug in to flee a jam within the backside of the ninth to drive further innings.
To their credit score, the Jays got here out within the 10th decided to benefit from the chance.
After a Josh Donaldson single, Kevin Pillar continued his sizzling play this sequence with a sharply struck single to proper that introduced residence the go-ahead run.
The Jays even added an insurance coverage marker when each Ryan Goins and Nori Aoki walked to make the rating 5-3, leaving these hundreds of Jays followers assured they weren’t going to depart Wrigley empty handed.
The way in which this season has gone, they need to have recognized higher.
Within the backside of the 10th, Cubs leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging on a pitch within the grime, however Lopez couldn’t deal with it and Schwarber took first. A Ben Zobrist single superior him to 3rd, after which with Anthony Rizzo batting, Osuna delivered one other wild pitch to attain Schwarber and advance Zobrist to second.
Because of Osuna hitting Jason Heyward, the bases had been loaded for Avila, who ripped the dramatic, game-winning single to ignite some extra Wrigley bedlam.
A Jays group that got here to Chicago’s North Facet yard for the primary time since 2005 performed the Cubs robust all through the sequence, however left with nothing of worth.
“You have a look at the place we’re in, each win is important to us,” Gibbons mentioned. “We had been able to win — these are the video games you’ve obtained to shut out. You’ve obtained to win these. We are able to’t afford these — we’ve run into just a few of these currently.”