Jose Bautista bat-flips away all-time weird inning, sends Blue Jays to ALCS


For a moment it looked like one of the strangest plays in postseason history would lead to the Rangers advancing past the Blue Jays and into the ALCS, as Russell Martin‘s throw back to the pitcher in the seventh inning glanced off Shin-Soo Choo‘s bat, bounced away, and allowed Rougned Odor to sprint home from third base with the go-ahead run as the Rogers Centre crowd went nuts and the umpiring crew consulted replay.

[mlbvideo id=”523048383″ width=”640″ height=”360″ /]

And then the Rangers forgot how to catch the ball.

Beginning the bottom of the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead, the Rangers committed a trio of errors and a fourth play in which Odor was unable to snag a soft liner that landed just past his out-stretched glove, tying the game at 3-3. Jose Bautista then stepped to the plate with two runners on base and launched a monstrous, no-doubt-about-it home run off reliever Sam Dyson that was matched only by his epic post-homer bat-flip.

[mlbvideo id=”523054683″ width=”640″ height=”360″ /]

Later that half-inning benches cleared on two different occasions, as Dyson seemed equal parts confused and angry about what had taken place as the Rangers went from leading 3-2 on a controversial play to trailing 6-3 on a bunch of misplays and a Bautista bomb. The range of emotions in both halves of the seventh inning were incredible, as each side experienced the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.

That was the story of the entire series, really, as the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead by taking the first two games in Toronto and then the Blue Jays won both games in Texas before the unforgettable Game 5 back in Canada.

When the dust settled and the beer cans were cleared off the turf the Blue Jays escaped with their first playoff series victory since winning the World Series in 1993. Rookie reliever Roberto Osuna, who hadn’t even been born yet last time Toronto made the playoffs and is the youngest player in baseball at 20, closed out the 6-3 win by striking out four of the five batters he faced for a five-out save.

Exhale. Baseball is a helluva drug.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.