Wild play in ninth turns tide at Rogers Centre
TORONTO -- Chris Colabello may have had the winning hit in the Blue Jays' 7-6 walk-off victory over the Astros, but everyone was talking about the single that put the go-ahead run on base, leading to a dramatic and bizarre finish in the series finale on Sunday at Rogers Centre.
With the Astros holding a 6-5 lead and closer Luke Gregerson on to shut the door, Jose Bautista sent a popup to second base that should've been caught for the second out of the ninth. Instead, it dropped in for a single and ended up swinging the game in the Blue Jays' favor.
"It's a play you don't normally see, it's a play that I'm not sure anyone could have expected," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "But it was very costly."
Bautista's popup would've been routine if not for the fact that it fell in directly over second base, where baserunner Jose Reyes remained as he tagged up.
Reyes' presence on the bag led to contact with Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar, who tracked the popup and attempted to make the play before the ball deflected off his glove for a single. That set the table for a double steal, which set up Colabello's heroics.
Hinch came out of the dugout to seek clarity on the call, prompting a lengthy conference between the umpiring crew. Hinch said the decision came down to whether or not there was intent on Reyes' part to interfere with the play.
"My interpretation was that he has to make an attempt to get out of the way. He can't just hold his position," Hinch said. "There's an argument that he did try to get out of the way by bending over and protecting his head or whatever he was doing, but that does create a bigger obstacle than it does smaller in my mind. They huddled to see if there was any intent either way. It's a difficult play all the way around, but it's all about intent. I don't think he was necessarily trying to get in the way, but my take was that he wasn't trying to get out of the way."
Reyes, who singled home Munenori Kawasaki before stealing second and third base in the inning, said he had no other choice but to remain on the bag in that situation. He said it was up to Villar to move around him to make the play.
"That was a little bit crazy, but at the same time I have to stay on the base so it's not my fault. It worked out very good for us in that situation," Reyes said. "I have to stand on the base, I've got no other place to go."
Villar said that in his opinion, Reyes should've moved to the other side of second.
"The fly went to the bag. He moved to the side where the fly was," Villar said.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he could understand why the Astros would be displeased by the outcome.
"If I'm on the other side, I can definitely see what they're saying. But I'm not on that side," Gibbons said.
Pitching for the first time since June 2, Gregerson said he wasn't sure about the ruling, but he conceded it was an odd play.
"Obviously they feel as long as he's on the bag that he's entitled to it and he doesn't have to move," said Gregerson, who was saddled with the loss and his second blown save of the season.