Blue Jays outfielder was 0-for-3 on Sunday afternoon against the Astros, putting his 16-game hitting streak in jeopardy. The Blue Jays afforded him one more opportunity to extend it, and it happened to be in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out. The tying run was on third base in Jose Reyes and the winning run was on second base in Jose Bautista.
Colabello reached out for a 1-2 breaking ball from closer Luke Gregerson, sending it weakly back up the middle for a walk-off two-run single. The 31-year-old has been a diamond in the rough for the Blue Jays, now batting .355/.400/.529 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 129 plate appearances this season.
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Colabello’s story is fascinating. He played independent league baseball through age 27 before the Twins signed him to a minor league deal in 2012. In December 2013, he received a $1 million offer to play in South Korea, but turned it down as he didn’t want to give up his dream of playing in the majors.
Sunday’s walk-off win extends the Blue Jays’ winning streak to five games, putting them at 28-30, leaving them just 4.5 games behind the first-place Yankees.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.