Blue Jays blow 8-1 lead, eliminated from MLB playoffs after Mariners comeback

By Lucas Casaletto

The Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the playoffs in two games after losing 10-9 to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The Blue Jays led the Mariners 8-1 in the fifth inning at Rogers Centre, but Seattle chipped away at Toronto’s lead, and an RBI double from Adam Frazier — his third hit of the game — in the top of the ninth inning off closer Jordan Romano was enough to seal it.

Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford tied the game 9-9 with a three-run double in the top of the eighth inning, resulting in George Springer colliding with Bo Bichette. Springer lay on the Rogers Centre turf for several minutes before exiting the game on a medical cart. Bichette stayed in the game.

Catcher Cal Raleigh had three hits, and Carlos Santana had a three-run home run on the night.

It’s Seattle’s first playoff series win since 2001. Overcoming a seven-run deficit, the Mariners tied the second-largest comeback win in MLB postseason history. The record is held by the Philadelphia Athletics, who came back from an eight-run hole against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series.

It’s the second time in three seasons that the Blue Jays have been swept in an AL wild-card series after losing two games to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.

The Mariners will advance to the next round and play the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series (ALDS).

The Cleveland Guardians eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in two games with a walk-off win on Saturday. Cleveland will play the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

Blue Jays bullpen struggles in pivotal Game 2

Romano was hit with the loss after giving up four hits and two earned runs. Anthony Bass, who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline, was charged with three earned runs on three hits. He didn’t complete an inning.

Teoscar Hernandez staked the Blue Jays to an early lead with a two-run homer off Mariners starter Robbie Ray in the bottom of the second inning. He hit another solo shot off Ray, who left Saturday’s start after three innings.

Tesocar was also hit by a pitch, which scored a run.

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (left) and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (center) and right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (right) before the start of the game against Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher Danny Jansen had three hits and two RBIs, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added an RBI single, and Matt Chapman scored one on a sacrifice fly.

There was no update on Springer’s condition, but manager John Schneider said postgame that the veteran outfielder is slated to undergo additional testing. Springer was conscious when he was carted off the field.

The big storyline heading into Game 2 was Ray’s return to Toronto at the heart of a pivotal postseason series. Ray, who won the AL Cy Young award as a member of the Blue Jays last season, skipped a series in Toronto back in May amid border restrictions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ray gave up two home runs (four earned) while striking out four. He was relieved by Canadian Matt Brash.

On November 30, 2021, the Mariners signed Ray to a five-year contract worth $115 million. One day later, the Blue Jays signed Gausman, Saturday’s Game 2 starter for Toronto, to a five-year, $110 million deal.

Gausman was solid in his first postseason start as a member of the Blue Jays, pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out seven.

The right-hander departed the game with the bases loaded and two out, but a wild pitch from reliever Tim Mayza, and a three-run home run to Carlos Santana, were counted against Gausman.

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