Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Game of the Day (8/23/91)

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5. Toronto had acquired Tom Candiotti at midseason; the knuckleballer would spend 16 total years in the majors, but this was his first and last season with the Blue Jays.

New York's Wade Taylor was in his first and last big league season, period. Which, given his 6-plus ERA, doesn't come as a shock.

Bernie Williams started the game with a walk, moved to second on Steve Sax's single, and came home on Mel Hall's single to put the Yankees in front. However, Sax overran third on the run-scoring and was tagged out, preventing any additional runs, and the Jays promptly tied it when Devon White led off the home first with a homer. A Randy Velarde double and a Pat Kelly single put New York ahead in the top of the second, and Toronto rallied again when Kelly Gruber walked, took second on a groundout, and came home on a single by Pat Borders.

Hall doubled and was stranded in the top of the third, and Roberto Alomar singled and was picked off in the bottom of the inning. New York recaptured the lead in the fourth when Matt Nokes singled and Kevin Maas homered, then padded the advantage on a Velarde triple and a Williams single.

John Olerud's fourth-inning single was erased on a double play. Hall singled and was left on in the top of the fifth, and the Blue Jays narrowed the gap in the home half when Borders doubled, Manuel Lee singled, and White hit a sacrifice fly. Alomar's walk put the tying run on base, but Joe Carter grounded out to end the inning.

Both teams threatened mildly in the sixth; Kelly walked and Williams singled in the top of the inning, while Olerud led off with a hit in the bottom. In the top of the seventh, Roberto Kelly's two-out single chased Candiotti; Bob MacDonald relieved and saw Kelly caught stealing to end the inning. John Hayban took over for Taylor in the home seventh and set the Jays down in order. Nokes and Maas both singled to begin the eighth, and Duane Ward relieve MacDonald; a groundout moved the runners to second and third, and with Pat Kelly at the plate, Nokes was caught stealing home (on what I very much hope was an unsuccessful squeeze play) to defuse a chance to add to the lead.

Alomar led off the bottom of the eighth with a triple; one out later, Greg Cadaret relieved and induced an Olerud groundout that scored Alomar and made it 5-4. Steve Farr then came on to end the inning. Ward allowed a Williams walk and a Don Mattingly single in the top of the ninth, but kept the Yankees from scoring, preserving the one-run margin.

Mookie Wilson was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the ninth; Borders then hit into a fielder's choice, but a Velarde error allowed both runners to reach safely, and Lee was plunked to load the bases. White struck out, but up next was Alomar, whose single brought home both the tying and winning runs.

So let's see... Duane Ward came out of the Toronto bullpen, threw two scoreless innings and was awarded a win in a close game. Roberto Alomar went 3 for 4 with a triple and a come-from-behind walkoff single, good for a WPA of +.596.

I promise I didn't just copy and paste every other Blue Jays recap I've done for the 1991 season so far. They're just a team that has tended to play to their strengths in their most exciting games (and in quite a few other games as well, enough that they were on the way to a division title).

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