Forsythe breaks up Estrada's perfect game
ST. PETERSBURG -- Sometimes the softest-hit balls can be the most devastating.
That was the case Wednesday at Tropicana Field, when Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe hit a weak chopper to third baseman Josh Donaldson for an infield single that broke up Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada's perfect-game bid of 7 1/3 innings during Toronto's 1-0 extra-inning victory over Tampa Bay.
"I was just trying to get the barrel on the ball and try to get it somewhere," Forsythe said. "It wasn't a pretty hit, but it was a hit."
The infield hit came just five pitches after Donaldson made a spectacular diving catch three rows into the seats down the left-field line. This time, however, the third baseman's highlight-reel effort went for naught.
On a 2-2 curveball, Forsythe sent the chopper toward Donaldson, who barehanded the ball off its second bounce and fired to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who bounced around in disbelief after first-base umpire and crew chief Joe West called Forsythe safe on the bang-bang play.
"It was a little frustrating, just because it wasn't hit very hard," Estrada said. "Donaldson made a great play, and the guy could run a little bit, so he beat it out."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to challenge the call, but after a 40-second review, West confirmed that Forsythe had indeed put an end to history.
"I knew I was safe, but you have to challenge it in a situation like that just to make sure," said Forsythe, who reached a top speed of 20.73 mph on his way to first, as estimated by Statcast™. "But yeah, I heard the ball hit after my foot hit the bag."
Estrada would give up another hit in his 8 2/3 innings of work, but at the time Forsythe beat out the play at first, a sense of relief flowed throughout the Rays' dugout.
"No club wants to be no-hit, perfect-gamed, shut out or any of those things," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "At that point, when it gets that deep in the ballgame, obviously we were relieved."
Forsythe's hit proved to light a spark under the Rays, who managed to get at least one runner in scoring position in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings, but they could not capitalize on any of the opportunities en route to a 12-inning shutout.
"Any time you can get some kind of momentum in a game like that, it gets the dugout up and gets us into the game a little bit more," Forsythe said. "We just couldn't put anything together late in the game and didn't pull out the win."